We have shared great articles from our friend Rod MacArthur before, and are glad to share this very uplifting, comforting and timely article.
Faith or Fear?
“We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7)
Alarming news stories come at us like quadraphonic sound: TV, Radio, Newspapers, even on our Smartphones (maybe especially there). The panic of the panicked seems intense and genuine; it claws frantically at our minds, trying to pull us into fretful living.
I heard today what we suspected, possibly heard, before: This Covid-19 is a strain of pneumonia that is ten times more potent than any previous strain…and we have no acquired immunity to it. Our leaders—national, state, and local—continue to take draconian measures to both flatten the curve, treat the infected, and minimize the death toll. May God grant them wisdom and stamina to continue.
But what about me? Shall I let the unknown of the unknown move me to fear-based living? What if I do; what will become of my decision-making skills? Can I expect good outcomes from panic-driven choices? God would spare me from both: heightened anxiety and poor decision making.
Mary Kay Ash, amazing founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, spoke frequently about the devastating impact of fear. Here are two significant quotes. “Fear is faith that it won’t work;” and “Fear is a misuse of your imagination.” Let’s glance at each.
Fear: Faith that it won’t work
Jesus was in a small boat with His guys. He was asleep while they struggled against a raging storm. Peter’s words resonate with every heart that sees imminent doom: “Don’t You care that we are perishing?” We might chide Peter; “How can anyone with Jesus be in jeopardy?” We have the advantage of knowing the whole story.
So, what of our story? Aren’t we with Jesus, too? Just because we haven’t the other side of the current “storm” yet doesn’t mean Jesus has lost His care and ability, does it? Do you really believe that it won’t work to trust Him? It turned out pretty good for Peter; it will be the same for all who put their faith in Him and NOT in the looming illusion of disaster. Recall Jesus’ words to Peter: “Why are you timid; where is your faith.”
I will either have confidence that trusting Jesus keeps me safe; or I’ll have faith that it won’t work to trust Him. It’s a choice, isn’t it?
Fear: A misuse of the Imagination
Our minds are marvelous. God blessed each of us with the amazing ability to visualize success; and from the visualization, to act and achieve. This same power, imagination, can also, unfortunately, lead us to a dark place of fear and dread. We “see” horrible consequences or outcomes. Success or dread; it’s the result of which we choose to “see.”
Dr. Laura coined a term: “Horribilizing.” It describes how people can imagine horrible consequences that might possibly arise from a decision, situation, or course of action, then become frozen in fear, resulting in inaction and stagnation.
As long as I stay focused on what might happen, I am controlled by the fear of it happening. Or, I can visualize God causing all things to work together for my good. What if I do? Won’t my heart feel stronger and my future seem more secure?
What do you see?
Two people are thinking about Covid-19 as I write this (maybe more). One frets over catching it. Every sniffle, body-ache, or other symptom becomes momentous. It dominates his mind. The other takes every prescribed precaution and knows this, too, shall pass. For the first, fear slithers out of imagining what might go wrong. For the other, courage and resolve grow from a heart of trust. God has him in His hands. In this trust, he carries on with life in hope. Which one do you admire?
So, let us confidently say with Paul: “We walk by faith, not by sight.” What you know in your heart has the power to dissolve into mere memory the fear of what we are seeing. God Himself promised: “I will never desert you; nor will I ever forsake you.”