Ruled by Fear

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT

Sleep in the backyard in a tent? In the dark?

Like most children, Fred feared the dark. His parents had talked to him, telling him there was nothing in the dark that wasn’t there in the light. Even as a youngster, he knew that wasn’t true. What about all those dangerous animals you never see in the daylight? Try as he might, he couldn’t shake the fear. Then one day at school, his friend Rad suggested they have a camping adventure in his back yard. The thought of sleeping in a tent at night terrified Fred. Even if it was only in Rad’s backyard. Not wanting to admit his fear to his friend and risk him telling their other friends, Fred agreed.

The experience was worse than Fred imagined. Without divulging his fear, he convinced Rad to leave a light on in the bathroom so they could see how to get to the facilities should they need to use them during the night. Rad agreed. Rad, however, had an evil sister who somehow discerned Fred’s fear and made sure she extinguished the light before going to bed. Fred didn’t sleep a wink. His imagination inflated, and he heard every noise. By the time the first rays of daylight peeped over the horizon, he was a nervous wreck.

I’ve struggled with this and other fears myself. Darkness wasn’t my friend when I was younger. Dad tried to help me defeat it by sending me into the backyard by myself. It didn’t work. At 55, I’m still a little nervous when piercing the darkness without a light of some sort.

Though God has instilled in me a healthy sense of fear, He doesn’t expect it to lead to unhealthy emotional reactions. Avoiding a dangerous neighborhood is just good sense. Stepping into the path of an oncoming semi and thinking God will stop it isn’t. Through the instilled emotion of fear, God gives me wisdom to avoid dangerous situations. Those that are beyond my control, I depend on Him to protect me from. And He’s promised He would.

Conquering unreasonable fears starts when I admit to God I have them. Once I’ve done that, I can lean on Him for strength to face and overcome them.

Prayer: Father, deliver us from unreasonable fears. Help us remember You have not given us a spirit of fear.

Written By: Martin Wiles

Martin lives in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com). He is an author, minister, and freelance editor who understands believers’ struggles. His most recent book, Grits & Grace & God, is available on Amazon.