(This is a rerun from 2012. Some of us still need it.)
I was talking with a friend about fear I have. It was a good conversation. He helped me think it through. And I’m not going to talk with you about it.
He prayed for me, asking that I wouldn’t be “captivated by fear.” I confess, I took out my pen and wrote the phrase on my hand while he was still praying. I needed to remember it.
We are often captured by fear. It holds us hostage.
But we are also captivated by fear. We gaze at it, enthralled by its awesome power. Our attention is devoted. We cannot look anywhere else. We go weak in the knees, we find that we are speechless. We offer up sacrifices of time and energy, deferring other projects until we can adequately serve fear. And there is never enough we can offer. Our fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of punishment, fear of success loop through our souls during the day, through our thoughts in the darkness.
In a sense, we are in a twisted love relationship with fear.
John talks about this relationship between love and fear in one of his letters, as paraphrased by Eugene Peterson:
There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
John spent a lifetime dealing with situations which could inspire fear. In the early days of the church, he was arrested and warned to shut up. Soon, he was beaten and warned again. His brother was murdered. Yet he writes this.
Apparently, John was more captivated with Jesus than he was with fear.