Recently in an online video a speaker commented on making choices through fear or faith. It caught my attention for it succinctly stated the reality of how we live most of our lives. It seems many of those deep-seated angsts from childhood center around the nauseating fear of rejection, ridicule, or humiliation. Interesting that such challenges to our core being that arise when we are so very young may last a lifetime. When I think of the decision-making process that rolls in my head I wonder, what is fueling that engine? Fear or faith?
It really matters not so much what the fear or the faith is, it seems the age old dichotomy between the two is the point. The world system, the cultural voices that dominate our community and social systems, our media and information sources tout a fear-based agenda it seems. Or messages that instill, promote fear in the masses, rather than inspiring us to have hope and rise to greater heights. Faith on the other hand must be carefully considered. For the object of one’s faith is best chosen with care.
“Faith” according to Webster is essentially loyalty, belief, trust. Throughout my life when challenged with many fearsome situations, the choices in how to to respond were always the same: in fear, or in faith. Fear and trembling were not foreign concepts. Fear sneaks in, just like it did in that garden where it all began. Fear of lack was born there. Fear that what Adam and Eve had been given was not enough.
“Not enough!” Such a loud shout in today’s world . . . or a whisper. Like a barnacle welded on the thing it refuses to let go, it’s tendrils sunk deep into the fabric of our psyche. It taunts and shames, incites doubt, breeds fear til we are left grasping for something or someone to believe in. We are, after all, creatures meant to walk in faith, in relationship with a good God who has only our best in mind. Are we willing to search out that relationship? To spend time finding the goodness of the God who created us, or in fear will we run to more tangible sources that seem to have the answers we want? We do all walk in faith . . . in something.
Over the years of seeking to find that good God that the historical Jesus Christ told so many about, I have found the something/Someone to believe in who has proven to be trustworthy and true. He has never lied to me, put me out or down, humiliated me (I’ve done that on my own!), or used me in any nefarious way. He has given me hope, renewal, value, worth, forgiveness, confidence, family, friends, and even dwells in me through His Holy Spirit. I am never alone. Sure, I might have questions, my own random fears that arise, loneliness when I am focused on what I might not have rather than what I do have – Him. Yet in all these normal human experiences I have Someone I can run to immediately anytime, any place for solace, answers, direction. This is the Person I choose to believe and trust with my faith; faith being “walking to the end of all the light we have, yet still going on” (I remember a preacher making a statement like that about fifty years ago). The richness of God’s provision is astounding, and I shall never be able to understand it all with my finite mind. Yet this I know, He is real, He is Love, and He died and rose again (a historical fact) to tell me so.
Fear or faith? I have found God of the Bible (not “religion”, but God Himself) to be the place of faith I can securely go to in my fear. His voice and counsel will never lead me astray, and His peace that passes all understanding envelopes me in a chaotic world. I need but “Be still and know that (He is) God.” (See Psalms 46:10a, NKJV.) And to learn of Him and His wisdom so I may face my fears with hope, assurance, and faith (see Romans 10:17).