Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:1-6
Welcome to today’s reflection. May we receive the courage needed to conquer all our negative fears in our lives in the name of Jesus. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” With numerous assurances from God like the one above, the reality of fear in the lives of believers is pathetic. We are afraid of the many wars, conflicts, persecutions, violence, crime, natural disasters, terrorism, economic uncertainty, unemployment, divisions, diseases and deaths in our society these days. We fear for our children’s future, the church, our financial future, our security and the unknown. We are afraid of almost everything. Unconsciously, fear, not faith, is the fundamental factor that determines our prayer points, our business decisions, our ministry’s approach and our perspective of the future. Many of us are ruled by fear instead of walking by faith. Faith and courage are going down while fear and anxiety are increasing. We have allowed fear to rule us by our extreme consideration of “what if” rather than building on the biblical principle of “by God’s grace”.
Although there is a positive dimension to fear, such as: “Fear prepares us to react to danger. Once we sense a potential danger, our body releases hormones that slow or shut down functions not needed for survival (such as our digestive system) and sharpen functions that might help us survive (such as eyesight). Our heart rate increases, and blood flows to muscles so we can run faster. Our body also increases the flow of hormones to an area of the brain known as the amygdala to help us focus on the presenting danger and store it in our memory.” However, we are concerned with negative fear. Fr. J.M. Ikeke defines fear as the “state or condition in the human heart or mind that incite the human emotions to panic, to withdraw, to hesitate, to draw back, to surrender, to feel defeated, to feel incapacitated and even to give up on life.” Fear originates from lack of faith in divine presence and providence, false imagination, inferiority complex, anticipation of pain and threat of punishment and death.
Living under constant threat weakens our immune system, and long-term fear includes fatigue, clinical depression, accelerated ageing, and even premature death.
On the spiritual level, fear makes us spiritually weak and discouraged; fear drains us of the strength needed to move on. Fear has an attractive power that brings evil into our lives. “The things I fear has happened to me.” Job 3:25. When we live in fear, our lives and story will remain negative. When Peter allowed fear to rule him, the sinking he feared happened to him. When we live in fear, we run when no one is pursing us, we see witches, when there are none. Leviticus 26:36 confirms it thus: ”As for those of you who are left, I will make their hearts so fearful in the lands of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to flight. They will run as though fleeing from the sword, and they will fall, even though no one is pursuing them.” We shall continue tomorrow!
2 Kgs 5: 14-17; Ps 98: 1. 2-3. 3-4; (R.2)2 Tm 2: 8-13; Accl 1 Thess 5:18; Lk 17: 11-19
TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
- May God help us to say with David in Psalms 46:1-3: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. (NKJV)
- Pray Psalms 91.
Exercise: Whenever fear creeps in, remind yourself that God is in control.
Memory Verse: Hebrews 13:6.