Fear is not matter. It is not a thing made of molecules that form into a physical entity that can be fought and conquered. It is not an enemy with wit and intelligence so that it could be thwarted. Nor is it built from protons and neutrons creating a violent force to be reckoned with.
Fear is an idea.
A concept. It is a shadow of the truth casting doubt on reality. It is the caricature of our own worst cased scenarios playing on repeat inside our brains. It is the tickle in the back of our throat which turns into icy claws that threaten to strangle and dismember.
Think back to when you were young, when you were afraid of the monster under your bed. The fear that gripped you when your foot hung over the edge of the mattress, out from the safety of the blankets. You knew it was outlandish. You knew the monster was not real. But you still put your foot back under the covers just to make sure. You were captured by an idea.
Fear is the human response when we realize the utopia of control that we wish to be reality is not actual reality. So often we live as though we are the commanders of our future. We think that we possess some semblance of mastery over the outcome. It often takes the fearful moments in our lives to remind us that we never controlled the future at all. In a world where a virus, in the course of a few weeks, has seized control of our control; we realize we never possessed it from the start. We grip as little control over our lives now as we did back in September, before the fear set in.
One day the Master came and taught us about the empty hobby of fear. “Do not worry about your life, about what you will eat, drink, or wear. Consider the sparrow. They do not toil or store; yet, your father provides for them. And which one of you could add a single hour to your life by being afraid?”
Our greatest problem is the belief that through our false sense of control we have the ability to provide for ourselves. That by our worry and straining that we can make our lives longer than the days that have already been written for us. Fear is the natural response to the realization that we have no control. Ultimately, we cannot provide for ourselves. We throw up our hands in fear as the tide comes closer, feeling our powerlessness to stop the water from crashing over our sandcastles.
What is the fear that grips you today?
Our needs are not met by our fretting or striving. But they are met when we seek first the kingdom of God. When we realize that we are more than sparrows. That your Father knows all about your need before you even ask. That He does not ask us to fret ourselves about tomorrow but to seek His face.
Our Father is in control.