There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out all fear. 1 John 4:18
Only a few times in my life have I felt completely terrified. One time that comes to mind was when I was high school and decided to go spelunking with group of friends. Spelunking is basically when groups of people explore deep, dark caverns and caves with only guide ropes, headlamps and a compass for orientation. Our group was 90 minutes into our descent when I slipped, loosing grip of the guide rope and slid down a ledge and off into a dark abyss finally landing in some water. My headlamp immediately went out and I found myself alone treading water in the complete dark. Quickly, panic set in and I started to hyperventilate. The next few moments were the longest of my young life, until I finally heard the voices of my buddies and saw the beams of light piercing the darkness.
Again and again throughout the Scriptures, Jesus asks different people, “Why are you so afraid?” Most of us can identify, for fear is part of life influencing us all in different ways. In America, the top 5 most prevalent fears are: 5) needles/blood, 4) drowning, 3) bugs, 2) heights and 1) public speaking. As a person of faith, how do you find freedom from the binding grip of fear? How does Jesus guide us to, by the power of love, drive out all fear?
Jesus did not speak of fear as someone without experience. He understood the fearful prospect of venturing out into the wilderness for 40 days without food or any provisions. In his weakened state, he would need to summon the strength to face down the tempter. Jesus would travel from town to town healing and teaching the good news without the security of a place to lay his head. As an uneducated man, he would stand and speak in front the the highest courts of the land. Finally, he would willingly enter a city brimming with powerful men hellbent on seeing him arrested and executed.
Yet, Jesus was able to draw his strength to endure from a greater promise expressed in 1 John 4. Far greater than any fearful circumstance is the power of love. Love drives out all fear. This quote from Richard Rohr has been a game changer for me. There is no time, to place, no circumstance in which God is not loving you. Allow the power of that statement to wash over you. God does not promise protection from all adversity, but is faithful to love us through it all… come what may. That is how love sets us free from fear. Next time that fear creeps into your heart or spirit, claim this verse or Rohr’s quote as your own. When fear seeks to bind us, God’s love is more than able to set us free.
Blessings on your week, -Chad