Fear and How to Aim It

Fear obsesses. It takes a thought and begins to circle that thought, cycling it over and over in the brain, spinning off of it and spiraling out from that, including new what ifs and possible scenarios. And for every piece of information that goes into the brain, a fearful brain can spend hours obsessing.

The trick is to control what information goes into the brain in the first place. And I would suggest that if I put more COVID-19 stats and speculations into my head than I do truths about God’s awesome sovereignty, no wonder I’m going to fear the corona virus more than God. 

But if I spend more time putting God thoughts into my brain than I do any other source of fear, then my fear at least has the chance to aim at God. And if I still find myself fearful of a circumstance, then I’m allowing too much of that circumstance into my mind to begin with. For me, that means no news, no Facebook, and having a conversation with my loved ones about what I do and don’t need to discuss over the phone. 

Wait a minute. Doesn’t God say to be wise? Don’t I need the news to tell me how to live in this world wisely? Well, actually, I need God to tell me how to live in this world wisely, but I take your point. Yes, I do need to let in some news of COVID, otherwise I’d be breaking the law when it said to stay home and I’d be putting my neighbors in danger. But as many times as God commands us to be wise (I found five by concordance search), God commands us to “fear not” more times—by a factor of seventy-three. Solomon, the world’s wisest man, insists “do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?” (Ecclesiastes 7:16) yet, “the conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Besides, wisdom begins and ends with the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7). 

So let in as much information about the thing you fear as you require to live wisely. And let in more information about God. How else will my mind choose to obsess about God instead? Don’t conquer fear. Fear God. He’s plenty for my mind to obsess about.