I don’t care what anyone says, I never laugh in the face of danger. But sometimes, when danger isn’t looking, I point and make faces and call it a big stupidhead. Of course, then if danger looks over, I look down and pretend I’ve been picking lint off my jacket the whole time.
I decided early in life it might be wise to give a respectable deference to danger and fear, at least to their faces. I guess it’s partly because when I was a kid, Bozo the Clown used to sit in a dark corner of my room every night and brood creepishly. It was always in the same corner. Then in the morning he’d be gone and there would be a floor lamp there instead. Eerie.
Since I obviously know my way around the fear topic, here’s my helpful tip of the day: If you’re panicking, try taking deep breaths. Unless you’re panicking because you’re drowning. Because then you’re definitely going to need a whole different tack.
On the more serious side, though, isn’t it glorious that as we breathe in the presence of the God of light, our fears just seem to fade? When the angel came to the shepherds to announce the birth of the Messiah, the glory-light must’ve been shocking. The glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified (Luke 2:9). But the angel’s first words to the shepherds were, Don’t be afraid (verse 10). No need to fear! In fact, the angel brought the good news that the birth of the Messiah was ushering in our salvation. Has there ever been a greater reason for rejoicing? And that’s just what happened. Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!” (verses 13–14). What a sound and light show that must’ve been! But the shepherds didn’t stay frozen in fear. No, they got up and hurried off to find the Christ.
That angel chorus wasn’t the only Jesus-welcoming light party. When the wise men sought the Messiah, they were led by God’s magnificent starlight. And there it was—the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure. Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshipped Him (Matthew 2:9–11). Light can lead us to that place of worship. Worship is the exhale as we breathe in His light.
Ever scared of the dark? When we get those dark fears out of the way, we’re free to worship and praise—the perfect response as we encounter the Lord of light. Fear can be devastatingly powerful. It can rear its ugly head at the most inopportune moments. And when it arrives, it all but takes over our thoughts. It’s tough to think of anything else when fear makes its way into our gray matter.
In Psalm 27:1, David reminds himself of the God who chases away fear: The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom should I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom should I be afraid? Fear may be powerful, but it’s nothing compared to our God.
Bozo? You got nuthin’.
Every time we think about His sovereignty and His power, we turn on the lights. We realize we have nothing to fear. There’s nothing that will come into our lives that He can’t handle.
When fear fills our hearts and minds, there’s essentially no room for anything else. If we let it rule us, it can become a way of life. It’s like standing beside the lamp but choosing to stay in the darkness. Have you let fear prevent you from doing some things you know the Lord has called you to do? Have you let it paralyze you? Fear is the opposite of trust. And we have a God who is completely trustworthy. His record is clear. He keeps every promise. If you allow it to, faith will conquer your fear.
Think of the things that cause you fear and stress. Is there anything you’ve come up with that’s too big for God to handle? Anything that’s too tough for Him? A health issue? He knit your body together. Financial stresses? He owns everything. A schedule out of control? He holds time in His hands. Family members or friends in trouble? He knows them inside out. Whatever the challenge, the Father loves you and He desires to shoulder the burden for you. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
Once you’ve cast your fears onto His strong shoulders, those anxieties are no longer yours. You don’t have to drown in them a second longer. That sets you free to worship Him and to serve Him. Are you passionate about sharing Christ’s light in this dark world or have you been letting fear stand in your way? The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19–20 is your mission too. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you boldly shared your faith? Can your God get you through that? Toss over the fear and let Him accomplish His desires through your life.
Our calling to share is such a privilege. He chooses to allow us to be involved as a blessing. We don’t share Christ to earn extra points with God. We come to Him in love and obedience and watch as He helps us overcome fear and puts in our hearts urgency and a thrill in sharing Christ. Sharing the Good News, the light of the Gospel, becomes our delight!
We can ever delight in living in that no-fear zone. Yes, even with clowns in the zone.
Rhonda Rhea is a pastor’s wife, mom, speaker, and author and is a regular contributor to the Missouri Baptist Pathway. She and her husband serve at First Baptist Church, Troy, Missouri. This column is adapted from Rhonda Rhea, How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person? Bright Ideas for Delightful Transformation (Birmingham: New Hope Publishers, 2011).