In the aftermath of Holy Week and Easter Sunday, I've been thinking a lot about fear. And truth be told, I don't usually spend much time pondering fear because I would describe myself as one who is pretty tough and not afraid of very many things. But, this week has got me thinking about how afraid Jesus must have been in the hours before his torturing and death. In fact, the Bible is quite clear in describing Jesus' very real fear.
After Jesus ate a final meal with his best friends, he went out to pray; pray with such angst and fear that he fell with his face to the ground and asked God, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me." (Matthew 26:39) The Bible also goes on to say that Jesus was so afraid at this moment his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:44) Whoa! Ok, so even though God is our Trinity:
-Father (Jesus the human)
-Spirit (Living in us)
the father part means He understood the whole fear thing. But for me, this brings the question, then what did he mean in John 14:27, "...do not be afraid." You can't get any clearer than that right? Do not!
Well, here's the deal. Fear is an adjective, a feeling. It is apprehension, regret, unhappiness, reluctancy-you get the idea. But to do something or be something, that is a verb, an action. If you and I are to DO something we would be performing, executing, or accomplishing. Just as if you and I were to BE something we would be existing, living, or occurring a certain way. Jesus' instruction to DO NOT BE afraid is not a denial of our feelings of fear, it is an instruction to take action in spite of our feeling of fear.
This distinction has helped me to understand that the feeling of fear can and/or will be present; it's the not doing/being because I'm afraid that I need to cease. Jesus taught me that I can feel completely afraid to do or say something and still do it anyway. And, we have the ultimate proof of the glorious results that come from doing/being this way. Jesus, during the most fear filled time of his entire life, pushed through it all; through the unspeakable cruelty and torture to his death, all so you and I and everyone else who decides to believe and accept this, will enjoy a second chance through forgiveness of our sins and eternal life. Yessssss!
So, how do you and I make this principle work in our lives? Well, we probably 'feel' afraid more often than we care to acknowledge, but we can choose not to 'be' afraid. This is where courage comes in, right? Because courage is not the absence of fear, it's instead making a choice that something else is more important than our fears.
So, if the question is, To feel afraid or to be afraid, the answer is both: Feel? Yes. Be? No.
If this post touched you, I'd love to hear your comments and invite you to share this with others.
Kirsten Berger Coaching