This week’s article is written by Gwen Solomon, a member of Godfrey First United Methodist Church.
Did you know that there are over 500 named phobias? From coulrophobia (the fear of clowns) to gephyrophobia (fear of bridges) to arachibutyrophobia (the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth), our culture has practically turned fear into an industry. Compare that to 2 Timothy 1:7, where we read that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” That is very true, as we are born with only two basic “fears;” both loud noises and the sensation of falling will produce a startle reflex in an infant. Everything beyond that is an acquired fear…something that we learn to be afraid of in response to the experiences of our lives. God didn’t create us as fearful creatures, though, so how should we respond to the situations that make us doubtful or afraid? The answer, though simple, is not easy: we exercise faith.
Faith is the opposite of fear. Where fear doubts, faith believes. Where fear destroys, faith builds. Faith enables; fear disables. Faith says I can; fear says I can’t. An old proverb says that if we feed our fears, our faith will starve to death, but if we feed our faith, our fears will die. So often in life, exercising our faith is easier said than done. I can tell myself not to be afraid, but convincing myself of that is another story! Like anything else in life, exercising our faith takes practice. Each time we allow ourselves to trust God and His plans for our lives, the easier it becomes to trust Him the next time. Bob Proctor may have put it best when he said, “Faith and fear both demand you believe in something you cannot see. You choose.”