“I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! …” – Romans 11:1
In 1976 Gordon Lightfoot wrote the song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The lyrics pose the question, “Does any one know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?” The answer: It doesn’t go anywhere. Fear blocks our perception of His love.
Fear is a God-given emotion prompting us to fight or flee. It is a survival aid. So we have two natural options to overcome fear. Run from or fight the cause of it. But what happens when we don’t have the option to do either? A sense of hopelessness and abandonment overcomes us.
I interview armed robbery victims who cannot describe the person or even the hand that held a gun on them. Fear eclipses their memory of the robber with the hole in the barrel of the gun. Frank Herbert wrote in Dune that, “Fear is the mind-killer.” While quoted from a work of fiction it does ring true.
When we encounter stressful or threatening situations, it is natural to experience tunnel vision, a sense of time lag, and loss of hearing. We focus on the threat (most often visually) and experience tunnel vision, which blocks our other senses. Law enforcement officers depend on intense training to counter this often-fatal effect.
The Apostle Paul wrote about this in the opening words of Romans Chapter 11. Giving into fear and not keeping our faith in God gives us this feeling of abandonment. However, Deuteronomy 31:6 says “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Children of God must train by continued reliance and faith in God’s promises. The difference between being afraid and not depends on having a reason to not. We have a reason not to fear.