What-If Fears

roller-coaster ride

Psalms 34 is one of my favorites. A pastor and friend put music and a melody to Psalms 34:1-4 (KJV). For me, every time our congregation sang this song it fed my soul.

I will bless the Lord at all times:
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the Lord:
the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

O magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Fear from danger

Fear is a fundamental attribute in everyone. God gave us fear for at least two reasons. One kind is the “fear of the LORD.” We’ll look at that later. Today, I want to focus on fear that comes from danger, either real or perceived. For most of us, danger triggers fear to get our attention. Fear tells us to use our spirit and mind to respond to the thing that triggered fear in us.

The story of Piper

My son and daughter-in-law (D-I-L) lived in a bush village, on an island, in Alaska for several years. During their stay, they had an Australian shepherd dog named Piper. He was (and still is) a great blessing. 

On the island, people are not at the top of the food chain. Bears, wolves, and other animals see people as food. Anyway, my D-I-L would take Piper for his daily walks, and they never had any worries. But one day, as they were on their usual path, Piper suddenly stopped, then immediately turned around and tugged hard on his leash. Piper knew something that my D-I-L didn’t know.

She felt a flash of fear, but the good kind. She didn’t have debilitating fear, just the “fight or flight” kind. She chose flight! They got back home safely. They continued their daily walking routine and never experienced another “fight or flight” event.

Those what-if fears

My point is that fear is God-given and is for our protection. Still, we know that most of our fears are birthed from our sins, our doubts, our lack of faith. Am I the only one that has ever invented scenarios in my mind that caused me to fear? Most of us have had “what if” fears. Worry is always a what-if fear. What-if fears are sin. What?! I can’t even worry without sinning. Nope.

Let’s consider fear. According to my search on BibleHub.com, 995 Bible verses have the word “fear” in them. There are only 112 verses that have the word “hell” in them. God has provided us with a wealth of verses to help us understand how fear works, how it affects people, and how God’s love casts out all fear.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. – 1 John 4:18

Power, love, and self-control

Oh, I forgot to mention the root of what-if fear is punishment. What if my boss fires me for spending too much time on Facebook? What if I lose my temper? What if I lose my faith, like my friend? All of these are what-ifs that carry the fear of some kind of punishment. But I have good news.

For believers in Christ Jesus, we have no reason to fear those what-ifs. Oh, they will bombard us, but they can do us no harm for we have God’s promises to care for us:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7 (BSB)

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” – Psalms 4:8

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:34

Photo by Chris Slupski on Unsplash

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