Wednesday, October 04, 2023

How to handle fear


All photos courtesy of Unsplash

In the last year, we have witnessed the coronation of King Charles the 3rd and the ongoing devastation taking place in Ukraine. In addition, the aggressive acts of violence between Israeli and Palestinian forces continue. Shootings and violent crime are a regular part of life in the UK, and in the USA, mass shootings have become the norm, with over 200 in 2023 to date. These events, plus so many more, have a devastating effect on people's lives. People's hearts are failing them for fear, as the 'old book' says, Luke 21. 26.


I often speak to older people. They tell me that they are frightened after they've watched the news. They're anxious. They're worried about what's happening in the world. How do the events that you watch on the news or hear about in your town or neighbourhood affect you? Life can be traumatising and frightening, and many people don't know how to handle or deal with fear and the problems they face.


Some fear is generated because of uncertainty; sometimes, it's because we're out of control, and often, it's the pace at which things happen. The other reaction is to be blasé, stick your head in the sand, and pretend nothing is happening. These reactions are not confined to world events - this is how we often respond to events in our lives. It might be in respect of your health, your finances or a relationship. Sometimes, we convince ourselves that things will never happen or nothing will ever get worse, but then the reality hits us, and what we dreaded is happening.


What strategy do you have to cope with the unexpected events that life throws at you? The ancient sage Solomon wrote in the book of Proverbs (27. 1) - 'Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth'. Jesus was recorded as saying in Matthew chapter 6, verse 34, 'Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof'. He meant that there are enough problems on any given day without worrying about what will happen tomorrow. 


One area of life that we often ignore is our spiritual health. For many, the teaching of the Bible is frightening and alarming. It is shocking to accept that we're all accountable for how we live and will answer to God for everything we have done. Yet, there is an ultimate day of reckoning, and the Lord Jesus Christ has been appointed as the judge. The Bible states that God has 'appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead’, Acts 17. 31. Your reaction however, might be the other one, which I fear is the attitude of the majority, just ignore it, and hopefully it will turn out not to be true.


The reality is that our fears need not be realised. As a society, we take action to reduce crime and to keep people safe. God has also provided safety and salvation through His Son, Jesus. I love the following verses from the Bible as they assure me that anyone who turns to God and trusts His Son can be safe - 'Be it known unto you therefore . . . , that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him, all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.


Keep safe and be safe


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