Fear gripped my body. I couldn’t breathe and felt as if I was drowning. Then.... I woke up!
Acid reflux can leave you in a panic induced by the fear that the body generates when it can’t get enough oxygen because reflux is pushing up on the lungs. A few sips of antacid liquid, time for the breathing rhythm to reset, and, it’s all over, back to sleep. But, the memory of the fear induced panic lingers and can be easily remembered.
Fear is a powerful force. Lions can use it to deceive prey as to their exact location, and get the heard running. Despots use fear to get people to obey. Even confessing things that they do not nor ever have believed. Fear can make people in one of the wealthiest nations on earth, hunt out and hoard toilet paper!!!
Fear is also a natural force. Combined with the instinct to survive, it helps us avoid bad decisions. Decisions that can maim or kill. In dire circumstances fear, and the human endorphins it produces, can give one extraordinary resolve or human power.
Fear is also a bodily force. In my case, my body is talking to me. I can’t eat what I used to eat. Or, I need to go see a doctor and get some advice. Fear can alert us that there is a problem.
Fear is also a weapon that Satan uses to cause us to disorient, make a bad decision or run from a circumstance. Such fear lays aside all reason or remembrance and results in just exactly what Satan intended. He is satisfied when the glory of God is clouded, or that we are left feeling hopeless.
So, the writer of Hebrews draws on other inspired scripture to encourage and, I think alert us. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
In this specific context we are challenged to handle money correctly and reject the fear that may come from obeying God’s way. “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have...” While all around us we are being warned of dire financial consequences if we don’t seek, hoard and spend wealth on ourselves.
Peter has a similar cure for fear. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7). Or, more literally, “rolling all of your fear over on Him.” In this case the fear comes from actually bending yourself to others. All the while surrounded by those who encourage you to assert your rights.
Weaving various quotes from the Psalms, and alluding to Jesus’ promise to the disciples, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20), the writer of Hebrews reminds us of at least three things that should cover all of our moments of fear.
God is always with us.
In all circumstances God is prepared to come to our aid.
Man can ultimately do nothing against us that should induce fear. The worst that could happen is that we enter into the eternal promises of God for His people. Into the presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
The psalmist says, You are a hiding place
for me; you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of
deliverance. Selah (Psalm 32:7)