Why Fear?

by Kathleen Glavich, SND on April 27, 2012

in Blogs

"Our Refuge and Strength" by Morgan Weistling

“Do not be afraid” supposedly appears in the Bible 365 times. That’s one for each day of the year. There’s good reason for this. Recently one night a chandelier came crashing down in church—shades of the Phantom! Palm Sunday services had to be held in the gym. After a fellow worshiper pointed out that the fallen light hung directly over “my pew,” I was tempted to change my seat and let the fear of my own Damocles’ sword control my life. This experience led me to reflect on fear, in particular, the question “What would you do if you were not afraid?”

We are born with fears: fear of the dark, of monsters under the bed. One of the funniest videos on American Funniest Videos was of a little child who was literally afraid of her own shadow! Fear is good because it makes us cautious and protects us from danger. But then there are unreasonable fears that paralyze us and keep us from doing good. We all know people who are afraid to fly or drive on highways. Did you know that the number one human fear is speaking in front of groups? I think a close second is the fear of failure.

Jesus encourages us to trust God, who cares for the birds and flowers and who knows the number of hairs on our heads. How often Jesus told people not to fear . . . especially when he was acting in their lives. The Old Testament too offers examples of both fear and courage. Someone observed that the miracle at the Red Sea was not only that the sea parted but that the Hebrews had the courage to walk between the walls of water! God assures us: “When you pass through the water, I will be with you; in the rivers you shall not drown. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned.” (Isaiah 43:2) At Baptism the Holy Spirit came to live within us. We can always tap into the gift of courage that this Spirit brings.

So let’s try to break free from the chains of fear. Then we too may be able to do what seems impossible. As President Franklin Roosevelt stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

You might be thinking that it’s easy to say “Don’t be afraid,” but how do you get rid of fear? Philippians 4:6–7 offers a solution.

When have you conquered fear? What good came of it?


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

srsusan April 27, 2012 at 7:11 pm

This is a good topic, Kathleen. Fear can really paralyze us. I looked up the verse from the Philippians “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ” It is consoling just reading the words. The opposite of fear is courage. There is no courage without fear. Courage is facing the fear and having confidence to do the best thing. Sometimes the best thing is not to act. Other times it is to do something. We can always turn our fear over to God and trust on his care to show us the way.


Kathleen Glavich, SND April 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I’m sure people will be grateful that you saved them from having to look up the Scripture verse, Susan!


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