I recently learned that the most dangerous animal in the world is not the black mamba, box jellyfish, or komodo dragon, but the mosquito! It lives everywhere, carries deadly diseases, feeds on blood, and detects humans from 100 feet away. And just to make sure you can’t escape it, each female lays 300 eggs twice before it dies. Terrifying!
Why am I listing these discouraging facts? Because the mosquito reminds us that in this life, we can never truly escape things that will endanger our comfort or way of life. We will always have something to fear. In this broken world, fear has a vast empire and we can’t conquer it alone. Over the years people have tried to ignore it, deafen it, humiliate it, drown it, and medicate it, all in hopes of eradicating it. Yet, here we are. In Ephesians 5:16, Paul cautions us to be wise because the days are evil. We would be foolish to try to live as if danger doesn’t exist.
Fear doesn’t need to be realistic to be paralyzing. It just needs room in our thoughts, where it often weaves a web of worries around what we love most in the world. When we can’t control or protect what we want, the easiest response is often fear.
Fear gets its power when we fight for control; but when we depend on the Lord, we cripple it. Since my third child was born, I have feared nighttime. It’s as if all my worries and questions hide in the shadows during the day. But at night, they soar and race across my head and I lay there, alert and blinking while the clock ticks on. During the day, I keep myself busy and can laugh away the clouds, but at night I’m vulnerable to them. Regular time in God’s Word has helped this to not be an every night occurrence, but the difficulty of this battle has taught me that I am not meant to fight it in my own strength!
How do we fight fear? We do it by calling upon a power that is greater than ours. Psalm 34:5 says, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” When I try to take control, I forget that my Savior not only has delivered me from all my sins and given me eternal life, but He also has the might to free me from all my fears. He has conquered all and the only power fear has over me is the power that I give it.
Trish Donohue once said, “Satan speaks clearest in a cloud.” I can diminish fear’s power when I pull it from its murky domain in my brain and spread it out so I can see it for what it truly is. I can then take it, in all of its shriveling ugliness, before the Lord, confessing that it took His place in my heart. When I say that out loud, I can almost feel fear’s claws retracting. And when I share it with a friend, well, something beautiful happens. Broken people knit together in the strength of Christ is a stronghold Satan cannot break, no matter how hard he pounds against it.
So as night comes and we are tempted to let fearful thoughts creep in, may Psalm 34:4-5 be our flashlight: “Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” While this promise alone is comforting, it gets better because we have something the psalmist didn’t have. We know our Savior and that flashlight “shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). When you hear fear’s awful whisper saying you can’t escape, smile and answer back, “Oh, but you don’t know my Jesus.”