[Originally published as Is Fear a Fiend or Friend?]
My grandson knows how to turn fear into a friend. Before I share his secret with you, let’s talk about 2020 for a bit.
Fear is more prevalent in the world thanks to a certain virus that chased us into separate corners. Although 2020 was an anxiety-inducing year, I still believe fear can be either a fiend or a friend depending on how we react to it.
The Webster dictionary defines fiend as “a wicked person.”
Yet it gave two definitions for fear:
1. Reverence or awe towards God 2. Alarm, dread, and anxiety.
Whether fear is a fiend or a friend depends on which meaning of the word we focus on
If our way, will, and wishes are aligned with Christ’s, we won’t succumb to dread and anxiety when our plans are disrupted. This is especially challenging to do with the signs of end times playing out all around us. If needing to stay in our bubbles pops our bubbles of desire that we hold dear, this is an alarm telling us to return to our First Love.
- God foreknew and foretold pestilences would arrive.
- We are invited to abide close to Him who knows the way we should go.
- The Lord has plans to bless us and bless others through us.
- Nothing is alarming to God.
- We can trust Him to lead us into the good works He scheduled for us to do.
Now let’s talk about my grandson for a minute. He’s big for his age, but when he hears his six-foot-something grandpa coming down the stairs, he always stops what he’s doing and asks who it is. He wants to make sure we’re safe. He and Grandpa laugh a lot together. But Little Guy is still a bit wary of how intimidating Big Guy is. And what does he do when he’s afraid? He dashes into his daddy’s arms. Or mine, if daddy isn’t nearby.
Yes. My grandson’s reaction demonstrates what we’re wise to do when we’re afraid: Run to the Father.
Each morning is a new opportunity to serve and glorify our Heavenly Father in whatever way He has gifted and empowered us to do. Sometimes I may not think I have what it takes to tackle a project He has placed before me; however, one moment at a time is all we’re asked to live. He fills open hands with His help.
When we allow fear to simply be an alarm clock waking us—stirring us—to draw near to God, it becomes a friend doing us a favor. Fear can propel us to fall into Abba Father’s arms.
Trials are faith tests we’re invited to pass with the help of the Lord. They grow us and show us how wonderful the way of the Lord is when we fear God rather than fear hardships.
Is fear a fiend or a friend?
The answer to this question depends on whether we hold God in awe. Reverence of God should be our reference point in life. If we trust and respect God, we’ll have no reason to dread what today or tomorrow brings. When we align our way, our will, and our wishes with Christ, we curtail anxiety. Our omnipotent and omnipresent God walks ahead, behind, and beside us all the time.
Hope is a friend who listens to your words and hears your heart. When we’re afraid, we can take it to the Father. When we’re afraid, we can remember God is fearless. When we’re afraid, we can recall what Psalm 76:7 NIV says:
“You alone are to be feared.”
On a recent visit to a nature park, a noise in the woods startled my grandson, and he ran into my husband’s arms. Little guy knows who has the strongest arms.
And now I’d like to close with a poem:
When we live in loving awe
Of the Lord who’s always near
We’ll abide with serenity
And stave off dread and fear
When we live with reverence
Toward our holy God
We’ll abide in His Presence
And stave off anxious thoughts.