Harnessing the Harassment of Human Fears
There are, thus, many things we could suggest as helps, remedies, and counsel, which might seem pertinent to our discussion of irrational fears, but there is no help, remedy, or counsel so noble, so fulfilling, so meaningful, so fruitful and deeply healing as the wisdom that comes from Jesus Christ (Col 2:3). In fact, Christian wisdom is said to be the fear of God (Prov. 1:7; 9:10; Eccl. 12:13), and it is in the fear of God where the truest antidote for irrational fear is found. In my lifelong struggle with various fears, I have found great hope, comfort, and, above all else, peace of mind in the pursuit of godly wisdom. Dealing with irrational fears may be perceived as nonsensical battles with insanity fought in the sterile vacuum of mere human effort; God’s wisdom, however, restores purpose, perspective, and power to manage conflict in such a way that He is glorified as the end result.
So this book is offered up to God to help the fearful know His wisdom in a genuine and practical way. The reading at hand is intended not to be exhaustive but as a building block upon which the reader can discover for himself, or herself a plethora of gold out of the treasury of God’s wisdom. Truly, “He does great things past finding out. Yes, wonders without number” (Job 9:10). The wisdom of God has enabled me to see irrational fear as my opportunity to:
- Understand my weaknesses and vulnerabilities and the sufficiency of God’s promise to endure the obstacles to faith;
- Discover more deeply my own creaturehood and my desperate need to rely heavily upon God’s utter sovereignty; and
- Experience more fully the reality of faith that belongs to those who are serious about traveling the road of conformity to the image of God’s Son.
Irrational fears become sort of an ally to grace, odd in the sense that fears would not appear to be up to any good in our lives were it not for God’s promise that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). The “called” are summoned of God to a pathway of purpose where the soul is tried at every turn while the heart of the elect son clings fast to the love that will never let go, not in this life nor the life to come. Odd, too, is the notion that I would rather forgo the opportunity of fear—that is, I would welcome the refining benefit of struggle—but my flesh still abhors the feel, the agony, the suffering. If I could possibly avoid the battle, I would; but I cannot escape the fray in good conscience, so I will persevere to be battle ready. This is my lot, my appointment of grace, and this is the way of spiritual growth and maturity until the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom 8:21).
The outlay of the book is forthright and self-evident, with a good deal of practical helps in the final chapter. The helps are samplings to incite exercise and expertise in the skill of fending off panic. The illustrations throughout are given to identify with the reader’s own experience of fear by providing a window to view the author’s fraternal conflict.
May God grant insight, strength, and courage to Christians everywhere by the hope offered within these pages. May God grant sight through the presentation of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ to all those who may have come upon this book accidentally on purpose.
– Mark L. Graham