Summer 2016 in the USA could be described as the Summer of Fear.
- Fear of living in poor, crime-ridden neighborhoods
- Fear of having gun restrictions
- Fear of not having gun restrictions
- Fear of the Zika virus
- Fear of immigrants, refugees, and others who do not look like us
- Fear of losing our economic standard of living
- Fear of Hilary Clinton becoming the next president
- Fear of Donald Trump becoming the next president
- Fear of letting go of our fears
In terms of fear of living in rough neighborhoods, I think about some of the workers we met on the Family Mission Trip to Montgomery, Alabama. Bryan Kelly and Kevin King are two of the full-time workers in the Common Grounds Ministry who chose to leave their suburban life and move with their wives and children to live in ‘the hood’. They believed that they could better minister to the people living in Washington Park by living among them. Many lives have been changed through their adamant refusal to give in to the fear of living in a poor, drug-infested community where the love of God is so desperately needed.
Fear is to be actively fought against. It is not to be embraced with open arms and worn as a well-loved garment or a comfortable pair of shoes. The greatest fear I experienced in my sojourn on this earth so far was the fear that my first daughter was going to die. The fear hit me like an atomic bomb after she had lain in a hospital bed in Canada for a week, drugged to relieve her joint pains, and seeing one specialist after another with none being able to diagnose her condition. The fear was like a huge cobra, moving from my brain to every part of my body, crippling me and rendering me impotent -- until I gave my daughter up to God. I thanked Him for allowing me to be her mother for over twenty years and released her back into His care. I resolved in my heart that if God decided to take my daughter, I would still praise Him. Then and only then was I able to exhale and to find the emotional strength to support her siblings and other family members who were besieged by the same ugly fear.
It is said that the opposite of fear is love -- God’s pure, unconditional, boundless love for us. This love compels us to let go of the fears that dominate our lives and which sometimes drives the family of God apart.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. At this time, when various fears grip our country, it is a wonderful opportunity for us to allow the love and peace of God to shine through us so that others may ask from whence springs our hope, and we can joyfully share this Hope with them.