Fear of the Unknown vs. Fear of God

Even as we accept Christ into our hearts, God is still not completely known to us. He is God after all, and we are His creation. But, he wants us to choose him over fears our mind creates every time.

In the news recently, we’ve been bombarded with changes across the United States. From shootings in Charleston, SC to Confederate flag arguments concerning our nation’s past to proper rights regarding same-sex marriages.

It’s unsettling in the way it’s handled. And why is that exactly?

Because it’s presented in a manner which triggers fear. It is the unknown.

Much like walking a high-wire on a windy day. No amount of training can prepare you for what might happen next. You are subject to the weather’s whims and fancies.

Luckily for us, it is not so with God above (and as He dwells inside the hearts of those who’ve accepted Him).

He wants our trust. Proverbs 3:5 says: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding.

It’s a counter approach to listening and digesting social media wholeheartedly (and fearing the unknown). And the beauty of this verse is…it’s universal!

Whether we live in Chattanooga, TN or Kathmandu, Nepal, God wants all of our hearts trusting His. Leaning on His wisdom. With this mindset, ungrounded fear has no place inside of us. Fearing Him is the only fear permissible.

Have you ever tackled something that was outside your comfort zone? I mean really just out there? Maybe it was a dare from a friend? Maybe it was delivering a speech to thousands at a conference? Or, you had to sing in German? Whatever the fear was, it probably felt unconquerable right? It took precedence in you life until it was over. Was it as bad as you thought it would be? Did the fear deserve all of that worry? All of that head space?

I remember a story from a brave lady who spoke at a summer camp one time. She was (and as far as I know, still is) FEARLESS. At least, that’s what her body language and speech suggested. Her name: Tori Murden McClure, and she was touted as the first woman and American to “row solo across the Atlantic Ocean” from the Canary Islands to Guadeloupe and to “ski to the geographic South Pole.” I don’t know about you, but just reading those phrases leaves me with a bit of trepidation. How does one row across an ocean exactly?

Well, she spoke of the obstacles everyone in our summer session imagined, and they were as great as my mind created them to be. She mentioned storms surging around her boat, The Pearl, and rolling the craft end-over-end. It wasn’t for the faint of heart, she said. She discussed the various storms and their forces; she sustained injuries and wanted to give up countless times. In fact, she did abandon the attempt on the first try. (Something about hurricane season.) But, on the second attempt she made it – 81 days (2,962 miles) later, and she was 36-years-young.

Similarly, her 700-mile ski across Antarctica to its center was presented in a fun, digestible spiel. She admitted that her fears of the unknown didn’t stop her. And, some of her most “learner-oriented” moments came at her own expense. For example, she recounted how she kept looking at a dial enroute to Antarctica and telling herself that the schematics were correct. But, she realized she should’ve been further along. What happened was a flake of snow landed on her compass, and the way she was looking at it, it appeared to be the directional cue and she kept following it–even though it was taking her in a wide, sweeping circle. She wasn’t following the real compass point at all.

My life is filled with blunders like that. Is yours? So many times each day I discover this same truth: I’m trying to trust my own erroneous understanding of the world, not God’s perfection. If we trust Him (the one who created it all, us all), imagine how trivial these stressors would become. The God of the universe deserves our full attention–not these things. He works through man-made and natural disasters–even the worst.

Pastor Pete Wilson writes, “I’ve noticed that even those of us who have trusted our heavenly Father with our eternities often have a tough time trusting him with our tomorrows.” Does this ring true for anyone else? I admit, I struggle with this same predicament at times. I know God has saved me for eternity BUT I still fear the next day’s problems. Isn’t that odd? He’s above it and beyond it all and with us, but the fear of the unknown still somehow permeates this truth in our heads.

My prayer is that today the fear will dissipate into oblivion. Much like Tori Murden McClure attempting her solo row across the Atlantic a second time, I hope you fight the monsters under the bed–the fear that ensnares you. Let faith replace fear today. Ask God to give you the faith to trust Him and ask fear to be removed from the equation entirely. It might not be logging 3,000 nautical miles in a boat, but then again, it might. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” and there’s strength in that truth.
Mountains in life aren’t conquered by fear. Instead, they are approached by trained, focused individuals aware of their potential and trusting in a power greater than themselves. God wants all of us, especially our fears, because He’s the only one who can transform them into faith.

Brian L. Tucker
Guest Writer

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