I snatched my four year old up on my knee the other day and asked him, "Kam, what are you afraid of." Without missing a beat he looked up at me and said, "I'm not afraid of anything, I'm a superhero." But, as his father, I am very much aware of what his fears are.
We all fear something. We aren't superheroes. Howard Hughes was constantly washing his hands because he feared germs. Ronald Reagan was afraid to fly. Adolph Hitler feared getting cancer. William Shakespeare, Mussolini, Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and Dwight Eisenhower are all reported to have suffered from ailurophobia, the fear of cats. Everyone seems to fear something. What is your fear?
In March of 1933 America had elected a new president. The country was suffering through a Great Depression and fear seemed to permeate all of our society. The words of our new president on his inauguration day were etched in the annals of history, "This nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself...nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
It seems our country is feeling such fear again. People fear a failing economy, they fear the indecisiveness in the White House, they fear the incompetence in the Congress. Some of the more common fears we suffer from are: fear of public speaking, fear of needles, fear of heights, fear of failure, fear of driving, fear of thunder and fear of crowds. Could we not list thousands of fears we struggle with?
The Apostle Paul was concerned about Timothy so he wrote him a letter. "Paul," he said, "God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." Timothy had a problem. Obviously it was something he feared. It seems he feared failure. We often fear change. We fear taking a new direction. We fear when God asks us to follow his plan instead of our own. What happens if I step out into a new ministry and it doesn't go well? What happens if I fail?
Change is sometimes a fearful thing and if we are going to be a part of God's plan to transform lives we must be willing to embrace change. When God has a goal to accomplish he sometimes asks us to change assignments. The older we are the more difficult this is to do. But, when he asks us to change directions we don't have to walk that path alone. He promises to send a Comforter to walk with us. When our lives quake with unexpected change we can rest in the arms of One who is unchangeable, the same yesterday, today and forever.
Fear is a tool Satan uses to try to neuter our faith. How many diseases were never cured? How many enemies were never conquered? How many products were never invented? How many great things have we failed to accomplish for God because we were afraid to step out on a limb? We must cast off the spirit of fear and receive the spirit of power and love and self-discipline.