Fear Factor - Faith or Fear

Fear Factor

Our first and perhaps most natural response to terrorism is fear. This is what many of us felt as we watched our televisions on Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001.

We were stunned and in a kind of shock, of course, but what we felt most deeply was fear. We were fearful, first of all, because the violence and destruction of 9/11 was very real and very near. We saw the horrific images of the gaping wounds in the Twin Towers; we saw the smoke and flames; we watched in horror as the great skyscrapers collapsed into twisted and burning piles of rubble. We wondered if more attacks were coming. We wondered if any place was safe from the reach of those who sought our destruction. And to this day, many fear that another attack is inevitable somewhere, sometime.

How are we to respond when we fear events we can neither predict nor control?

King David, who is believed by many to have written Psalm 56 after being captured by his Philistine enemies, offers the perspective of faith in times of peril and fear:

O God, have mercy on me,

for people are hounding me.

My foes attack me all day long.

I am constantly hounded by those who slander me,

and many are boldly attacking me.

But when I am afraid,

I will put my trust in you.

I praise God for what he has promised.

I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?

What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 56:1-4, NLT

Again, in a season of trouble and distress, David writes:

The LORD is my light and my salvation—

so why should I be afraid?

The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger,

so why should I tremble?

When evil people come to devour me,

when my enemies and foes attack me,

they will stumble and fall.

Though a mighty army surrounds me,

my heart will not be afraid.

Even if I am attacked,

I will remain confident.

Notice that David’s response to fearful situation is not denial; he acknowledges that his fear is real. His response is not to trust his own ability to defeat his enemies. Rather, in the midst of threat and danger he anchors his trust in something—someone—greater than his enemies.

He trusts the God who is greater than his fear; the God who will ultimately judge all evil; the God who promises salvation.

The antidote to fear is trust and hope.

From the Book: