What can we do about fear?
It seems these days that almost every breaking news item is accompanied with a note that terrorism ‘cannot be ruled out’. We hold our breath as we await confirmation that a plane crash, a stabbing or a shooting has been orchestrated by a supporter of Daesh (ISIS). And even before we know the motive of an attack, we’re gripped with fear as we realise it could have been us or someone we know.
The world has become smaller and we cannot avoid hearing about the truly horrific things that have been done to innocent people. There is much to fear.
As Christians, we know that we are not called to fear the way others do, but in practice it’s really difficult not to get swept along with the masses. If we want to live without fear, we basically have three options: we close our eyes, we harden our hearts or we get on our knees.
Closing our eyes and turning our back on the things God cares about is clearly wrong. We can, and maybe should, limit how much exposure we have to the news, but we shouldn’t be ignorant of the horrible things that are taking place. We don’t need to know all the details, but we cannot intercede without information.
Hardening our hearts is easier, and becomes still easier the more atrocities we see. In fact, people already react differently to events depending on where they happen. It’s true that we can’t grieve for every loss, but we must make an effort not to become desensitised. We have been made in the image of God and his heart should be ours.
Praying, on the other hand, has so many benefits. It draws us closer to God, it stills our hearts, it brings clarity… Sometimes prayer doesn’t seem to make any difference, but it accomplishes more than we know. Perhaps Oswald Chambers sums it up best:
To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.
This world is fallen and broken. Every day draws us closer to the day of redemption. Let’s take heart in knowing that God sees everything and still loves his creation. Let us be filled with hope for those who are coming to Christ because of the depravity they have seen, people like this woman from Yemen who contacted our response team last month…
I was a Muslim but I left Islam because of the contradictions and terrorism within it. Add to that the suppression of women. Those things made me hate and doubt Islam. I got out of it because I know that Islam can’t be from God. Because God is Love and that is what is rooted in my heart.
I want God to be a father who loves me and takes care of me. I love Christ from the depth of my heart and want to follow him. Because I have a special love for Christ, I want to know his book and his commands. I want to live in his shelter for he is my refuge and my haven. He is the real father, who loves us and care about us.
Please continue to pray for the people and nations of the Arab world, and do pray that our ministry would remain fruitful.