For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.2 Timothy 1:7
It was November of 1982 that Michael Jackson released his best selling album of all time, Thriller. I was only 7 years old, and to say that I couldn’t wait to get the album was an understatement! At the time, my parents were a part of the Columbia House record club (does anyone remember that?), and I knew the record was on the way! I vividly remember the day the album arrived! It was a cold afternoon, and when the school bus dropped me off at my stop, I ran as quickly as I could to my house. I knew Mom and Dad had ordered the record, so everyday I ran home with anticipation that it had arrived. Well, this particular day, it did! I was so excited that I couldn’t open the package fast enough! And, when I finally got the last wrapper off – truth be told – I started kissing the album!! Yes! Go ahead and laugh out loud! The first thing I did was call my cousin, Tracey, to tell her the great news, then ran downstairs to put the record on the player. Every song was gold except for one – Thriller!
As a child I steered away from anything scary. I was often teased because I was one of the few in my group of friends who didn’t like anything remotely scary. Thriller was such a big song at that time and the video even more so! Trying to be really brave I decided to watch the video. I honestly can’t tell you all the details about the video. My mind fixated on one disturbing detail: the dead people coming up out of their graves whose images became engraved in my little mind. Every time I went into a dark room, I saw those thriller images. Every time I’d walk (I should say run) home in the dark, I was convinced those dead people were coming out of the bog and were coming after me! I’d manage to make it into the house with trembling legs and a racing heart.
Looking back, I realize this was my first real experience with fear. This fear was so powerful, and I was afraid of something that wasn’t even real! Even when I’d try to convince myself it was all fictional, the images in my mind remained present. The more I would think about it, or focus on it, the more real it became for me. (It became a great motivator to run as fast as my little legs could go!)
Fear is something we all experience. Some fears are rational while others can be irrational. The fear I experienced from watching a scary video was an irrational fear. Fear of the unknown, after a cancer diagnosis, is a rational fear. Fear in itself is a normal emotion. However, when we allow fear to control our lives, it can become a wrecking force. It can cause us to think unreasonably, react uncontrollably and make choices that contradict the truth. Fear has the power to motivate us, but often in the wrong direction.
The most common commandment in the Bible is: DO NOT FEAR. God understands that although our fears can sometimes seem too great to conquer, His love is greater and overcomes our greatest fears. His love is perfect and in Him there is no fear! “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.” (1 John 1:18) His love has the ability to calm our fears and give our minds peace once we surrender our fears to Him. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) A sound mind is one that has peace regardless of the present circumstances. A sound mind has the ability to think rationally through the craziest and most difficult situations. Clinging to His love and His power gives us a steadfast peace and sound mind.
God’s love and commitment to us gives us the reassurance that no matter what we face, whatever we have to go through, or what present difficulties we find ourselves in, that He is always with us! I love how the amplified version of Isaiah 41:10 summarizes it perfectly, “Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].”
When fear tries to overwhelm my soul, I look to Him. He calms my greatest fears with His everlasting love and quiets my mind with a steadfast peace.
And, you, my friend, can do the same!