Fear is one of the most powerful of all human emotions. Little children often fear the dark. Countless school-agers are terrified of bullies. Those in mid-life dread economic problems, ill health, and family challenges. Twenty-first century life is a plethora of phobias and anxieties, from fear of height or enclosed spaces to dread of spiders, snakes and every creepy crawly thing.
Facing our need to feel secure is critical as many contend that the government maintains its control over voters by mobilizing their fears. Every day we are told to fear immigrants from all but the whitest countries. Pundits on Fox News exacerbate the fear of migrants by the continued drumbeat that those crossing our boarders are MS –13 gang members who will rape, rob, and kill citizens at will, although all the evidence indicates the contrary. Out of fear, people will even defend the separation of children from families if that is what it takes to keep them safe.
Where faith enters the equation is that faith casts out fear. The Bible makes clear that we are not to fear, but welcome the strangers, that we are to have compassion for, not anxieties about the poor, that we are to never enter any battle against evil with trepidation knowing that if the Lord be for us who can be against us. The Biblical answer to all of our worries and dreads is to redouble our efforts to trust in God. Faith rests on the unshakeable assumption that God has never been and will never be defeated, even when circumstances seem to indicate the contrary. The 27th Psalm says it best: “The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”