The Problem of Fear
The latest crisis is a regional one, the threat of Asian Carp to Great Lakes sport fishing. It is reported that there seems to be no way to stop this foreign invasion and if these fish gain access to the waters of the Great Lakes all sport fishing and related business is doomed! Scientists no doubt see a potential impact to native North American fresh water fish. But like “climate change” or “swine flu” the potential is magnified into a catastrophe of epic proportions. Why all this fear? Where is the American “can do” optimism? Whether from the left or right political spectrum the specter of fear is raised by unparalleled crises in our time.
I think this loss of the American optimism is in large part due to our loss of faith. America was greatly influenced by a Christian world-view at its founding and for the first 150 plus years. You cannot read the history of this land, the proclamations of its governors and presidents, and the development of its institutions without seeing the vast influence of a belief in the providence of God. Reverence for God begot an optimism that God was in control of all events for good. The fear of God meant we didn’t have to fear every event we couldn’t control. Indeed, we didn’t believe man was in control but we believed in “acts of God.” We believed in a positive future because we believed God had a purpose and history moved forward to that purpose.
The ascendancy of godless pragmatism and humanism has resulted in the belief that there is no purpose to life at all. Materialism and chance offer no purpose to life because belief in chance beginnings are without purpose by definition. If we are the mere product of chance there is no reason for our lives, our nation, or anything at all. If we are the only rational beings then its up to us to solve the latest crisis. The problem is that we cannot solve them. We are not God. There is no purpose for any of this. We live in a fear of blind chance happenings beyond our control and aided by our mistakes.
“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Prov. 28:1). This is the plight of the unbeliever who denies God. He lives in fear of everything because he controls nothing. Conversely, the Church, the company of believers, needs to stand up and be bold. We ought not to fear. God is in control. He controls the outcome of all events; even of the actions of unbelieving senators and representatives who promote fear to accomplish a political agenda. Hundreds of times the Bible calls us “not to fear.” Why? Because a sovereign God rules over all things and gives purpose to all things. We are accountable to such a mighty God. Our only hope is in the salvation he has promised. That is our only comfort in life and in death.