The Fear Factor in Faith

Thank the Lord for fear.

On a mountain side in Montana I was gathering large rocks to bring back and frame a flowerbed at the ranch house. I was about to reach for a large well shaped rock when I saw right beside it a large coiled mountain rattlesnake. Quickly I stepped back and my blood pressure shot up. 

Once we went to a rattlesnake roundup in south Georgia. I had been told there would be snakes as large as my forearm. Wrong! Out of the hundreds of snakes I saw dozens larger than that. Each year numerous enthusiasts spread out across the local countryside looking for snakes. When they would find what appeared to be a good location for them to den they would run a flexible pipe in the hole, pour a bit of gasoline in, and the snake would come out. The hunter quickly caught it, put it in a sack, brought it in to be measured, and then put it in a large plexiglass pen with other snakes. 

They and I faced the same danger, but our responses were different based on a knowledge of the snakes capacity and our awareness of our resources. Fear or the lack of it was based on those factors.

The same is true of all fear. It is based on that formula. Knowing what we face and an awareness of our resources helps us to instantly know what to fear and what not to fear. I admire the snake hunter’s calm and courage. I thank the Lord for my instinctive fear.

What time I face a potential appearing to be threatening an awareness of its potential and knowledge of how to deal with it abates impairing fear; affording calm.

That is true of fear factors ranging from a dramatic bad medical diagnosis, a financial setback, a clash of personalities, the loss of a sporting event, or any other threat. All of these can motivate excellence. It affects the decisions we make, the actions we take, and the outcomes we achieve. 

When faced with fear, fear is a stimulus to faith. There are two questions to ask. One is what is my inherent capacity to deal with it?The second is in what way I should rely on the resource of God’s capacity and His all sufficient grace. Then say,

“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust; I will not fear.” (Psalm 56: 3, 4)

There is a calming factor just in saying it. There is a great spiritual sedative effect when appropriated. It stimulates calm and emboldens the fearful heart.

Being brave is not the absence of fear, it requires fear that stimulates action: positively or negatively. Positive response is motivated by those two factors. That is, what the fear poses, and what your resources are with God’s help to deal with it. Frame this and post it in the halls of your heart.

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” (Ps. 46:1)