Summary: Fears in America
Psalms 64:1-4 "... Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words; That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not."
2 Timothy 1:7 "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on America, we have seen our country gripped with crippling fear. That fear has severely affected our economy. It is causing numerous layoffs in many different industries and forced some companies to close their doors. People are fearful of traveling especially by air. They are fearful of neighbors who might look different. They are fearful of the possibility of biological and nuclear attacks. There is considerable anxiety that we might be on the brink of World War III. Never before did the words of Henri Nowen ring truer than today when he wrote that we who live in this century are a fearful people. Fear is a devastating controller. When one is governed by fear, they are no longer guided by faith. Proverbs 29:25 declares, "The fear of man brings a snare..."
I. The Causes of Fear
A. Fear always has a definite object. Every fear object is something we perceive as both present and powerful, something over which we have no control. This is where fear differs from worry. People worry about something uncertain or unknown. Worry will often give way to fear.
B. Fear is most often the result of threats whether real or perceived.
1. I Samuel 21:10-12 "And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.  And the servants of Achish said unto him, is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?  And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath."
2. Threatened Danger - Crime, war, violent weather, sudden illness all can cause apprehension because of the uncertainty and the feeling of helplessness surround them.
3. Threatened Values - We become anxious when freedom and other things we value are in danger of being undermined or taken away. One result of terrorism is clearly seen in the statement that "America has been changed forever."
4. Threat of Conflict- Conflict causes anxiety because we perceive the adversity or adversary as being powerful casting doubt on the outcome of the struggle.
5. Irrational and Perceived Threats - According to one study, fear often arises because people have irrational beliefs.
a) "Everything is going to get worse.... Nothing can be done... etc."
b) WHEN YOU FEAR THAT THE WORST WILL HAPPEN, YOUR OWN THOUGHTS MAY HELP TO BRING IT ABOUT. SOMEONE ONCE WROTE, "FEAR IS THE WRONG USE OF IMAGINATION. IT IS ANTICIPATING THE WORST, NOT THE BEST THAT CAN HAPPEN." A SALESMAN, DRIVING ON A LONELY COUNTRY ROAD ONE DARK AND RAINY NIGHT, HAD A FLAT. HE OPENED THE TRUNK--NO LUG WRENCH. THE LIGHT FROM A FARMHOUSE COULD BE SEEN DIMLY UP THE ROAD. HE SET OUT ON FOOT THROUGH THE DRIVING RAIN. SURELY, THE FARMER WOULD HAVE A LUG WRENCH HE COULD BORROW, HE THOUGHT. OF COURSE, IT WAS LATE AT NIGHT--THE FARMER WOULD BE ASLEEP IN HIS WARM, DRY BED. MAYBE HE WOULDN’T ANSWER THE DOOR. AND EVEN IF HE DID, HE’D BE ANGRY AT BEING AWAKENED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. THE SALESMAN, PICKING HIS WAY BLINDLY IN THE DARK, STUMBLED ON. BY NOW HIS SHOES AND CLOTHING WERE SOAKED. EVEN IF THE FARMER DID ANSWER HIS KNOCK, HE WOULD PROBABLY SHOUT SOMETHING LIKE, "WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA WAKING ME UP AT THIS HOUR?" THIS THOUGHT MADE THE SALESMAN ANGRY. WHAT RIGHT DID THAT FARMER HAVE TO REFUSE HIM THE LOAN OF A LUG WRENCH? AFTER ALL, HERE HE WAS STRANDED IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, SOAKED TO THE SKIN. THE FARMER WAS A SELFISH CLOD--NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT! THE SALESMAN FINALLY REACHED THE HOUSE AND BANGED LOUDLY ON THE DOOR. A LIGHT WENT ON INSIDE, AND A WINDOW OPENED ABOVE. A VOICE CALLED OUT, "WHO IS IT?" HIS FACE WHITE WITH ANGER, THE SALESMAN CALLED OUT, "YOU KNOW FULL WELL WHO IT IS. IT’S ME! AND YOU CAN KEEP YOUR BLASTED LUG WRENCH. I WOULDN’T BORROW IT NOW IF YOU HAD THE LAST ONE ON EARTH!" - COPIED
6. MAX L. LUCADO WROTE CONCERNING FEAR: "HIS MODUS OPERANDI IS TO MANIPULATE YOU WITH THE MYSTERIOUS, TO TAUNT YOU WITH THE UNKNOWN. FEAR OF DEATH, FEAR OF FAILURE, FEAR OF GOD, FEAR OF TOMORROW-HIS ARSENAL IS VAST. HIS GOAL? TO CREATE COWARDLY, JOYLESS SOULS. HE DOESN’T WANT YOU TO MAKE THE JOURNEY TO THE MOUNTAIN. HE FIGURES IF HE CAN RATTLE YOU ENOUGH, YOU WILL TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE PEAKS AND SETTLE FOR A DULL EXISTENCE IN THE FLATLANDS." Edythe Draper, Draper’s Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 3971.