A Brief Meditation for the Month

February 2020

One of the most debilitating of human experiences is that of fear. This is often observable in the conduct of children. Little children may be afraid to walk alone in the darkness and will only feel safe and secure when a parent is present beside them. The confidence the child has in the parent calms and assures him or her when conscious of their presence. Even although the darkness remains as real as ever, the child is tranquil. Sometimes God’s children are required in their providences to walk through darkness as part of their Christian experience. Such darkness may be frightening, but with a sense of God’s nearness, they are enabled to be at peace. The prophet Isaiah was inspired to write: “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.” Isaiah 50:10. This inspired advice is for those who fear and obey God, and yet they are walking in such darkness, as they have “no light.” This is darkness, indeed! However, it is the duty of such to continue, making spiritual progress, even in the darkness of their experience. Not even periods of darkness can hinder the spiritual growth of the child of God who holds on to God by faith and trusts in him, not only to guide them through the darkness, but to sustain them in it.

Fear is an emotion which causes other crippling experiences. The apostle John wrote that “fear hath torment,” 1John 4:18. How true this is! We encounter those, who because of specific personal fears they have, become phobic. There are those for example who are so afraid of dogs that the very sight of a dog, even one that is perfectly harmless, can immobilize them with fear. Others become so paranoiac that they suspect that whatever it is, which is the cause of their concern is around every corner. They may become so suspicious in certain situations because of previous experiences, or perhaps in their relationships with a particular person or persons, that they live in constant fear of a repetition of the same upon the least appearance of similarity. We have all heard the testimony of persons who recall the experience when they “froze with fear.” They became so overcome with fear that both mind and body as it were, refused to function normally. However little we may personally know of such human responses in given situations; what we do know is that true Christians do on occasions experience real fear. The Psalmist David was often afraid, yet he could say, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3. The same Psalmist, however, prayed, “When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2.

As we read through the Bible, we become familiar with the numerous repetitions of two crucial little words—“fear not.” How often does the Lord say to his dear people, “Fear not!” The first of these was spoken to Abraham, the Friend of God. At the time when God spoke these words to the patriarch, he had much to make him afraid, but God said, “Fear not,… I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Genesis 15:1. To his people of old whom God knew to be afraid, he said: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness,” Isaiah 41:10. When dark trials are your experience child of God, trust him, who says to you fear not, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5.

G. G. Hutton.