Psalm 23; 2 Chronicles 6:28–33 (read online ⧉)
Of the devotionals written so far, this the 54th one around fear. That is greater than 10%. Fear is a monster. It is a consuming monster, and the world is being consumed by it.
In the great science fiction saga, Dune, Frank Herbert (the author) had his primary religiousesque order, the Bene Gesserit, recite the following in times of fear:
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Now, this is certainly not to extol Herbert’s religious perspectives, and there are many Christians who object to the Litany Against Fear. The biggest objection involves reading into it something which isn’t there. Herbert’s blending of Catholicism and Islam, plus Stoic and Arabic cultures (plus, Spartan) makes for a mosaic that is valuable when not taken to an extreme.
I must not fear. How about #ITrustGod? Trust in God drives out fear.
Fear is the mind-killer. Think about mobs both physical and social. Fear drives out rational thought.
Fear is the little-death…a coward dies a thousand deaths, a brave man only one.
…that brings total obliteration. Fear can often override our very identities. When driven by fear, we are more prone to do things (horde) that would not normally do.
I will face my fear. People will often deny their fears. Fears are often hidden pains. Chemical dependency, people dependency, depression, anxiety, anger, fight-or-flight all can come from fear. However, facing it means not be brave, it means understanding it.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me. We must choose to not identify ourselves by our fear. Fear is an emotion. It is our emotion. It, in and of itself, isn’t us.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Back to facing our fears. Once we know the source and cause of our fear, it is no longer unknown. It becomes…less scary. We become less afraid, and less likely to be triggered into fear.*
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. This ties back to the beginning. If we allow fear to control us, we become the fear bearers. However, once we acknowledge and identify the fear, we remain and the light that is Christ remains in us, lighting our souls against the fears of the world.
Psalm 23 could well be the “Christian” version of the Litany Against Fear if we allow it to be. The Truth in Psalm 23 is that #ITrustGod. It is only when we truly operated from a place of trust in God that fear has no power.
When Solomon said his public prayer to God, pestilence and starvation and many other horrible things were “common”. Solomon’s prayer was against the common deadly things of the world. Let us be glad that these are not so common for us. On the other hand, while there are other illnesses just as deadly (or more so) than COVID-19 in the world, for some strange reason (and there are plenty of—fear-filled—conspiracy theories) this one has taken the world by storm…a storm of fear.
This is not to say let’s not abide by the authorities, it is a call for us to be bringers of hope. However, for us to be bringers of hope, we need to abolish the fear inside of us.
Dear Heavenly Father, you call upon us to trust you and not fear. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, guide us to be the brave example of your Son, Jesus Christ. Blessed Trinity, ignite the spark of our hearts to be the light of hope to the world. Amen.
1) What do you fear right now? Why? Is it anything you can really do anything about?
2) Why does COVID-19 seem to outweigh the fears of cancer and the flu?
3) Why does knowing who you are (your identity) help you stand firm in the face of fear?
*Now, the inner eye concept is one of the big objections from Western Christians (Eastern Christians much less so). There is an aura of New Age cultism and other non-Christian religions that use the “inner eye” wording. However, the mysticism aspect isn’t that alien to Christianity (not by a long shot). What you do with it, and where you go with it is something else entirely. This is not to condone the wording, but to look beyond it.