Terrorism has one goal: to produce widespread fear, or to spread terror. Last night was an upsetting night for many. Many people became victims to the terrorist attacks in Paris. However, the victims were not only the ones who were in Paris at the time but those of us who read what had happened and became fearful.
Fear is a gift from God. Fear is our bodies’ survival mechanism, it can help us discern dangerous situations and protect us from putting ourselves in an unsafe position. But at the same time our fear can be abused and then used to control us.
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a good mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
The gift of fear is a physical response, but as the verse states, God did not give us a spirit of fear. Fear is not supposed to be the ruler of our lives. However, with all the social media and ways of communication it is so easy to hear and see all the horrible things happening. It is easy to be consumed in fear when we are bombarded by these stories.
From the time I was 11 to 12 years old I suffered from nightmares. There were many sleepless and fear filled nights. I lived in a world of fear. I can remember vividly telling my mom one day that I was so afraid because of the world, there was so much going on. I watched the news a lot at that age, and those of you who watch the news know that all the depressing stories are reported for the majority of the program. Well since then I have tried to greatly limit my intake of the news, but that was not the only thing that aided me in overcoming this paralyzing fear of sleeping. Every night I would say these verses (2 Timothy 1:7 and Deuteronomy 31:6). God became bigger than my fears, in my heart.
As I have gotten older I have realized that I have no reason to fear. Now this does not mean that I am fearless, what I’m trying to say is that I am in the hand of God and because of that, fear has no place in my heart. It is so scary thinking about the terrorist attacks from last night, knowing that they were only a few hours away. Even before coming here people had made me aware of the unrest here in France, but thankfully God, my heavenly Father, is bigger than this world.
In my last blog I talked about the last bit of Isaiah 41:10, but today I am taking comfort in the first part where God says “Fear not for I am with you, be not afraid for I am your God.” He has already determined how many beats my heart has (Psalm 139:16), there is not one person on the earth who can stop my heart early – not even one beat. This does not mean I am going to necessarily place myself in dangerous situations, but while knowing that France is not the most restful country I knew this is where God had called me to be and the best (not the safest) place for me is in his will.
Jesus is my Savior, he is my protector, and he does not always protect me from physical harm, but he protects me from eternal death. So I have nothing to fear because the one whose blood was shed for me walks beside me. I refuse to be held captive to my fear; that is not its purpose.
Guard your heart from being afraid (1 John 4:18). In these moments of terror take comfort that God knows what is happening. He is weeping over this evil, but he is not overcome by it. To overcome the fear that creeps into to my heart I need to remember that my Father is bigger than anything that tries to come against me, he will never be overcome by this world. His only son, Jesus, overcame the grave! My God conquered death! Nothing will hold him back, so I will have confidence in him. Fear has no grip on me.
As we mourn, pray, and stand with France remember that God is bigger. Fear has no place in our hearts.