After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:
“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,
your very great reward.”
– Genesis 15:1
“Do not be afraid.” How many times are words like these uttered in scripture? And how many times do they come from God himself or, at least, an angelic messenger? The relinquishment of fear is – apparently – one of the first prerequisites to finding an authentic faith in God.
And it is fear itself that drives almost all conflict, from the internal conflict of individual stress to the widest of geopolitical wars. Think about the things we tell ourselves when we are in conflict:
- “They’ll cut off our oil supply!”
- “They will come in and corrupt our culture!”
- “He is taking my inheritance! I’ll sue him!”
- “My husband/wife will spend all of our money!”
- “Our children will suffer if my spouse doesn’t change his/her parenting skills.“
- “I’ll never feel wanted again unless I sleep with her.”
Why do we feel anxiety? Why do we fight with each other? Why do people inflict violence on each other? Whether the concern is legitimate or illegitimate, it is always because of fear. It is only when fear is dispelled that peace can become possible. Identify your fear, let God speak to it, and maybe – just maybe – you will find peace.
Up next: We’ll consider whether our fear is well-founded. That is: is the universe a safe place?