It was the first time that real, gut-wrenching fear gripped me. I was in a strange room. Everything looked scary. An unknown man was coming towards me with something I’d never seen before in his hand, intending to do something to me. I had no idea what that might be, but I was sure he was going to harm me. Looking up, I saw a window right in front of me. My knee-jerk reaction was to jump out the window, even though we were on the second story. A physical struggle followed. The last thing I recall is that man, my mom and Uncle Joe restraining me. It took all three of them to hold me down long enough for him, the dentist, to place the ether mask over my face. I was five years old and overcome by fear.
The unknown is scary. Fear is very powerful. It can overcome us and as we take matters into our own hands, fear can prompt us to do some very foolish things. I did a study of Bible characters that found themselves in unknown, potentially scary situations. As I discovered that they were instructed not to fear, I realized that they were also told why they shouldn’t be afraid. There are numerous examples, and here are a few of them.
To Abraham, God said, “Do not be afraid. I am your shield.” (Genesis 15:1)
To Isaac, God said, “Do not fear, for I am with you.” (Genesis 26:24)
To Joshua, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
To the descendants of Abraham: “Fear not. I will help you. I will hold your right hand saying, ‘Fear not.’ “ (Isaiah 41:13)
To Daniel: “Do not fear, Daniel…your words (prayers) were heard.” (Daniel 10:12)
So for me, no more crazy things like I attempted when I was 5 years old at the dentist’s; no jumping out of second story windows. No more being overcome by fear. Instead, I’m choosing to overcome fear by trusting Jesus, who said to John on the Island of Patmos, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forever more. AMEN.” (Revelation 1:17,18)