H1N1, regular flu, pneumonia, terrorists, economic weak-ness, Global warming, etc., etc., etc. Let’s get all the fears on the table at one time. Most of us remember the tale of Chicken Little. As I remember it, Chicken Little was not the hero of the story; rather he was the nuisance who raised the alarm over things that were not a threat. Granted the list above is serious and not to be ignored. However, as Christians should these things demand our time, energy and fear to the degree they seem to do?
Paul talks in Romans about not fearing the powers and principalities for they cannot deprive us of what is most important, God’s Love. Repeatedly, messengers of God are telling individuals and groups to not be afraid. Even Jesus told all who would listen to not be concerned about food and clothing (I think it would be safe to add any of the above list) for God will provide. We are to trust in the power and presence of God in the world and in our lives, especially when crises arise.
We fail in our faith and trust in God when we let the fears of all that could happen prevent us from dealing with the challenges God calls us to take on. The problem with all of these fears is that the focus is on the self. Yes, we can fear these things for other people, but if we are totally honest, it is the fear that it could be us that grabs us. Selfish fear prevents us from loving our neighbors as our self. Selfish fear prevents us from loving God with all that we are and trusting in the absolute Presence that never goes away. God is present in the face of all these terrible things that “might” happen, and when they really do happen.
Yes, there are things of which we should be afraid. But that fear should lead us to trust God and face those fears with God at our side, all around us, and within us. The greatest fear out there is the fear of death; yet we are supposed to have faith that death has been overcome through the Grace and Love of God visible in the life and resurrection of Jesus. Let the fear become the energy that helps us move to assist those who suffer from diseases; let the fear be the motivation to empower others in love and to take the power away from those who only preach hatred; let the fear move us to truly become the good stewards God made us to be to care for all the Creation for which God called us to tend. “May God grant us the courage to change the things which we can, to accept the things we cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This also applies to the things we fear.