Can Fear and Faith Exist Together?
I’ve heard some well-meaning people say or, almost say that fear and faith cannot exist together. Where either faith pushes out fear. Or that if there is fear, well then, how can there be faith.
Without some clarification, people can easily take this thought the wrong way. What this statement is actually doing is telling us that we don’t have faith in God. Or not enough anyway to dispel fear. Then, what this does is dump guilt on the “not enough faith” group. Especially new believers in Christ will be deceived into thinking that they don’t believe “enough” in God. Or quite possibly, that they are sinning by fearing.
Can Fear Be Useful?
I for one hate being fearful. It can be paralyzing, causes doubt, and just makes you not do what you could or should be doing. Is there any good in fear?
What I found reading the Bible can really help understand fear and faith. You see, nearly everyone was fearful, doubting, or stuck in a bad spot. They were not immune to fear.
Let’s start with Abraham. God told him to go to the land of Canaan. To pick up his entire family and move. (Have you ever had to do that?) Abraham had no idea what, why, or how. There were plenty of things to fear, life endangerment, and being alone. But he still worshiped and followed God.
Or how about Joseph, my favorite character. He was thrown into a dark nasty well, sold into slavery, his wrist cut and bruised by his shackles. Don’t you think he was frightened, but the Bible says he still followed God.
David. He had so much to be afraid of, namely Saul. David was constantly on the run. Just reading his story and his countless Psalms, shows his fear, anxiety, and doubt. But yet, he still worshiped God.
Look at all the apostles and what they faced. They were constantly on the run, fearing for their lives. But still, they preached the gospel and worshiped God. And died for it!
Look at one more person. Jesus Christ. Being the Son of God you wouldn’t think he would never be fearful or full of anxiety. Jesus knew what His purpose was, what He was to do, and what the outcome would be. But yet, the Son of Man suffered greatly in the Garden of Gesthemane. The next day he knew he was going to die a horrible death. He prayed to his Father to take away his cup of wrath if there was another way. He prayed until he was sweating drops of blood!
I don’t know about you but, I have never prayed so earnestly that I was sweating blood. Think for a moment about that fear, anxiety, and agony of what was about to happen. But Jesus did it anyway and glorified God in the process.
Fear and Faith Exists Together
When you look at these Biblical characters and Jesus Christ, you can see fear and their faith move them more toward God. Move them to their purpose and what God was calling them to do. They didn’t let fear control them. The fear was always there, maybe in different degrees. But their faith in their God pushed them on their course of action.
One person, I heard recently said something like this about fear:” “Fear Not”, doesn’t mean to never feel fear. It means to keep going forward while you feel fear. That’s what courage is. Courage is not free from fear, it is to confront fear and keep moving forward because God is with you. ”
That is the best fear vs. faith answer I’ve heard. It is ok to fear, it is not ok to let fear control and paralyze you. We all face it. We all have doubts about our future. If we should move, is it the right move? Or should I work for this company? We all want to do the right thing. We all want to be in God’s will. But what if the right thing is the hardest thing? Or getting distressed over evil and sin in the world, “when will it get better?”. Or when God is silent, then what? That is when fear and doubt make their appearance. That is when it is time to lean on Jesus Christ and your faith in him. Don’t forget he is all knowing. He knows what we don’t know. He is always true and faithful.
Follow David’s example whenever he was trapped and didn’t know which way to go or what to do. Whenever he was agonizing over being hunted down or trapped, he worshiped God. He knew God would help. Because he remembered God was always faithful to come through. God never failed him.
Next time fear and doubt come knocking on your door, remember. Remember all the times God was faithful to you. Worship God for always being there and loving you. It is ok to pour out your fears and doubts to God. Remember, Jesus suffered through those same things. That is why he is such a great Mediator for us.