Fear is a common theme these days in the specter of the COVID-19. The truth is fear is an emotion that men have tried to deny or ignore. Yet, denying our feelings can undermine your health and faith. Three years ago, I did research online on the most common personal fears in the United States.
Top 7 Personal Fears:
- Public speaking or embarrassment
- Spiders, rats, planes (tie)
- Losing control of one’s mind
The top two fears are death and loneliness. You may be surprised that more people fear loneliness. With death, it’s all over and by faith in Jesus, you will be in heaven. With loneliness, it keeps going and going. I work in a senior living facility, and all of our 400 residents are suffering from social isolation. To reduce their risk of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus, our senior residents are isolated in their rooms, but they are suffering from loneliness, increased anxiety, and depression.
Max Lucado wrote, “Fear is a thief!” Fear steals our peace. And when we focus on our fears, we can feel paralyzed and powerless.
Two Kinds of Fear
In the Bible, there are two Greek words used for fear. The Greek word ‘Eulabeia‘ means to show reverence and utmost respect. We often call this Godly fear. The other Greek word ‘Phobeo’ we know well as “phobia”. ‘Phobeo‘ means to be seized with fear, struck, or paralyzed.
God’s word is our strength in times of fear. I love that David, the courageous hero of the Old Testament who faced down giants and armies, wrote in the 23rd Psalm – “I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” When we realize that God is with us during this terrible valley of the coronavirus, we are comforted, and peace is available for us.
In times of great crisis, some people complain and accuse God of not caring. When Jesus and the disciples were going across the Sea of Galilee, a dangerous storm raged. The disciples feared for their lives and woke Jesus saying:
“Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then Jesus asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” –Mark 4:37-40 (NLT)
Faith over Fear
When we are fearful, faith is the answer. Jesus has the power to calm the storm of fear in our hearts. In our most fearful moments, we need to live by faith and tell our anxious minds – Silence! Be still!
I love that the Apostle Paul, who endured so much suffering and anxious moments of life and death survival, wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7:
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Now some men doubt the strength of their faith and relationship with God. Men wonder if their sins will prevent God from giving them strength and peace. Men, through your faith in Jesus Christ, you are a child of God and a co-heir with Jesus Christ. You can go to God anytime, with anything, and be welcomed as part of the family of faith.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. – Romans 8:14-16
Our world is upside down in fear. As believers, we need to remember that God is our refuge and strength.
Paul Arnold is a husband, father, grandfather, and currently serves as a chaplain to a senior living facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He hosts several podcasts – Man to Man (career advice for men) and Pardon the Confusion (Sports) that are found on iTunes and www.redcircle.com