I’ll never forget 911. My greatest fear was awakened that day, but it had nothing to do with terrorists. I was afraid of God. I was in the shower with shampoo in my eyes when my husband came running into the bathroom shouting, “Jesus is coming!”
Those were the last words I ever wanted to hear. My heart enlarged to my throat. I couldn’t breathe or talk. Feeling I was about to faint, I jumped out of the shower with shampoo still in my hair and grabbed a towel. Then I started to sob. Finally the words came out. “But I’m not ready!”
My husband threw his arms around me and started to laugh. “He’s not coming right now sweetie, it’s just another sign of the end.” Then he explained the horrific events he had watched on the TV.
It’s been over ten years, but I’ve never forgotten how I felt. When we went to bed that night most Americans were blanketed with fear. In the blink of an eye, fear had changed the way we live our lives from border crossings to airline flights to how we treat strangers. Americans would never be the same again.
The flags came out. I remember telling a friend that he should have a flag on his business so people would know he’s a patriot. I had no idea what that word meant at the time. Another friend had flags on all four corners of their vehicle. While the symbol of that flag and the freedom it stands for have preserved many physical lives, others have used it to embrace a fear mentality that kills our spiritual lives.
Anyone near the twin towers that day engaged the “fight or flight” response of their brain for a good reason, but we’d burn out if we faced such stress every day. Soldiers can’t allow fear to paralyze them, so they train with a well-thought out protocol. When lives are on the line, their best option is to do as they’ve been trained. While such mind numbing tactics might be necessary to survive a physical war, fear messages are damaging in the spiritual war–especially when they are used to make us afraid of God.
I grew up wondering if I’d ever be ready for Jesus to come. I had been told to stop sinning so I could live without an intercessor. People said I needed to be perfect like my Father in heaven, but I could never measure up. I listened while adults compared Bible prophecy to current events. Then they looked at me with grim and worried faces saying, “Jesus is coming soon, you’d better be ready.”
When recordings of fear are repeated over and over for years, people will eventually tune out the signal or lose their minds. This happens to a lot of people who grew up with religious threats in their childhood. Eventually they decide it’s too stressful to live with constant worry and they leave the church or say they don’t believe in God at all. These people are not rejecting God; they are rejecting the fear messages in search of a more peaceful life.
Fear distorts truth by causing misunderstanding. People who live in fear are scared of God and other people who don’t worship, look and act like them. Fear causes desperation. Desperate people do desperate things. Fear makes us live as though we are animals racing for survival of the fittest. With fear on our backs, it’s hard to make the choice between saving our self or others, but Jesus says–
Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
Jesus laid down his own life–on purpose, to preserve our freedom. If anyone deserves to be remembered it’s Jesus. He’s the greatest hero of all. His gift to us is freedom. That includes freedom from fear. Freedom isn’t fear.
Let me say it again; freedom is NO fear.
For God has not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love,
and of a sound mind.
-2 Timothy 1:7
There is no fear in love.
But perfect love drives out fear,
because fear has to do with punishment.
-1 John 4:18
How is fear affecting your life this week?