Exalted one, 3 whenever I’m afraid,
I put my trust in you—
4 in God, whose word I praise.
I trust in God; I won’t be afraid.
What can mere flesh do to me?
When I’m afraid of something, there’s a game I sometimes play in my mind. I ask myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
Or, after something doesn’t go as I planned, and I’m feeling like it was a total disaster, I’ll sometimes say out loud for the room: “Well, at least we didn’t die.”
These sayings are meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek, just reminders to myself that most of the things we fear are temporary, with no power to really affect us beyond a short while. A lot of what we fear falls into the category of fear of embarrassment. We fear making a mistake, forgetting our lines, or looking foolish in front of others. In all likelihood, we’ll remember it (whatever it was) long after others have forgotten it. The half-lives of our minor mistakes are of a much longer duration in our minds than in of others.
Now, of course, there are things we fear that most decidedly do not fall into the category of minor: the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, a cancer diagnosis. These are things that can upend our entire world. They are the fears that don’t just throw us off our game; they keep us up at night.
And yet, I meet people everyday who face all of these things – and even more – without fear. Not without being affected, that’s not what I mean. But without fear. With the knowledge that there is still hope, and that God’s promises have not failed.
Even in the face of the most fearful things, I find it helpful to return to some simple, basic truths: even if the worst should happen, God is still with me. God is by my side and on my side. The gospels prove that we need not fear even the grave, because through Christ it no longer has power over us.
And if we don’t need to fear death – the sworn enemy of all life – then what is left to fear?
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
What are your biggest fears? How have they changed through time? When fear begins to overtake you, how will you remind yourself of these basic truths of faith?
Prayer: God, help me to remember that my life that began in you will return to you. When I am fearful about my future, remind me that you have promised never to forsake or abandon me. No matter what I face, I trust you to be right by my side. Thank you for loving me that much. Amen.