Summary: 15 times int he Gospels Jesus tells folks to not be afraid, what does that say to us today?
What Jesus Said About Fear
So, what are you afraid of? What it is that sends Goosebumps up and down your spine, brings your heart to your throat and makes you want to throw up just thinking about it? Snakes, heights, spiders, enclosed spaces?
Back in the day one of my favourite shows was “Fear Factor”. I had to watch it alone because Angela didn’t like it, but I loved it, probably a character flaw. The show tried to make a comeback this past year but didn’t seem to connect this time and to be honest I didn’t watch it the second time around, maybe it lost its appeal or maybe those of us who watched it just grew up.
Was anyone else here a “Fear Factor” fan? If you never saw the show, it would normally begin with six contestants, three male and three female. And it would appear that these contestants had to pass through a whole series of interviews to assure that ugly people didn’t get on the show.
And then for an hour these people would compete to see who would win the $50,000.00 prize that was given away each week. During the time I watched the show the contestants were covered in tarantulas, jumped from helicopters, leapt into space and were covered with snakes.. Add to that they’ve eaten eyes, brains, bugs and body parts we don’t discuss in polite company. When Franklin D. Roosevelt said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He obviously hadn’t watched this show.
I would last about 27 seconds on the show. I am terrified of heights, scared to death of snakes and really my idea of exotic foods is putting onions on my hamburger. So what are you afraid of? Now don’t tell me “nothing”; an article in one Medical Journal stated “The man who knows no fear is not only a gross exaggeration, he is a biological impossibility.” You know that’s the truth with “Fear Factor” All you have to do is watch their faces to understand that in many cases it’s not a matter of not being afraid as much as it is a matter of conquering your fear. And sometimes it’s fear that does the conquering.
Fear will always be with us, it’s one of the base emotions along with hunger, love and hate, and it’s not just limited to the human animal but is instinctive and crosses throughout the animal kingdom. You might even say that fear is a gift from God, it keeps us alive. Leonardo Da Vinci made this comment, “Just as courage imperils life; fear protects it.”
It is fear that keeps you from driving 200 km/h on a back road, or stepping off a twelve story building. This is not an unnatural or unhealthy fear. Of course you can overcome this, jumping out of an airplane with nothing between you and the ground but a square of silk and a bunch of strings should inspire fear, but skydivers overcome that. Race car drivers have learned to overcome their fear of speed. On fear factor contestants regularly are able to overcome their natural fears.
We’ve all met people who are afraid of something and yet they have risen above their fear. Those in the know tell us that 30% of the population are afraid of flying, and yet many of those people will fly when they have to.
Flying does not bother me in the least bit. I used to say that I had never been afraid in a plane that I have been flying or that anyone else has been flying. And then I flew in Africa. I forget what the official name of the airline was but I will never forget that one national told me that it was known unofficially as “Coffin Air”. But even with that experience I still find it difficult to understand the fear of flying. On the other hand Angela hates to fly, if it was up to her we would drive everywhere we go, regardless of the distance. Luckily there was an Ocean between here and Australia. Every year we fly south, she doesn’t like it but she does it. She is able to overcome her fear in order to do something she wants to do.
But friends I have a confession to make, I don’t like snakes. Which is not surprising because my father is terrified of snakes. In one article I read about fears and phobias states: “Many people suffering from a specific phobia have at least one phobic parent.” I would agree, Dad passed that on to me and when it comes to snakes I am a coward, and I don’t mean a little bit afraid I am terrified of snakes.
25 years ago Angela and I went to Florida on a vacation, during a trip we visited a place called Gator Land, I wanted to Go because that’s where part of the Bond Movie, “Live and Let Die” with Roger Moore was filmed. Angela wanted to go because in the brochure it said that you could have your picture taken with a four foot boa constrictor and that type of thing shakes Angela’s tree. I mean she could hardly wait to hold that monster. Well I laid awake most of the night before struggling with my fear of snakes, I had been preaching about conquering your fear back in Truro and it was time for me to put my money where my mouth was, so to speak.