I’ve got a place in the University I wanted! Hallelujah! But – oh dear!
Can I cope? Will the standard be too high for me? I am afraid…
I’ve been laid off… And when I try to get new work, they say I’m “overqualified”! Nobody wants me. What shall I do? I am afraid…
I’ve been offered a great job in a great organisation. I am ecstatic, but…
Can I cope with the demands and expectations? Will I last? I am afraid…
LIFE SEEMS TO BE a journey from one fear to another. Even when we receive good news, we are afraid that the goodness will soon turn bad.
The people in Isaiah’s day were also afraid. In panic, they cried out, “It’s a conspiracy!” Is someone conspiring to make your life diﬃcult? You may even feel that your Christian colleagues are against you! Listen to God’s advice through Isaiah 8:12-13.
“Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.
The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
He is the one you are to fear, He is the one you are to dread.”
Jesus says a similar thing. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
“Do not fear what they fear… God is the one you are to fear.” Perhaps this is the reason why life for most of us seems to be a journey from one fear to the next – we live in a world that does not fear God. He who does not fear God ends up fearing everything else! But both Isaiah and Jesus suggest that those who fear God need fear nothing else.
The secret to fearlessness is not to adopt a Stoical attitude, or still less a care-free, happy-go-lucky-I-couldn’t-care-less-about anything attitude to life or death. No. Th e secret to fearlessness is to cultivate a deeper fear: the fear of God. Or as Paul in Romans 8:31 puts it: If God is for us, never mind who is against! Let God be not only our first love, but also our first and only fear.
By REV DR GORDON WONG