Fear can cause us to act strangely as well. When we don’t feel safe about our surroundings and the people we are around, we aren’t our best selves. We become suspicious of others. We withdraw from interacting with them and engaging in activities. We fail to see all that is going on because we are always looking for something harmful to happen. So everything becomes a threat, and nothing can just be a harmless response. Fear plays games with us. It works on our imagination to see things through the prism of this emotion. Nothing is innocent or straightforward. We see and hear what isn’t there, and we miss many benefits and opportunities. Anxiety creates stress that has a broad effect on us, and we withdraw from many of the experiences that bring pleasure and meaning to our lives. Fear builds a self-imposed prison where we condemn ourselves to a lonely confinement.
“Fear is useless. What is needed is trust.” Jesus says these words when He is asked to heal Jairus’ daughter and members of the household think there is no hope for a cure. Fear kills hope, and without hope, we shut down. That is why we have to control our fear. We can’t just react to the threats our world poses. We have to measure them, take prudent actions to thwart them, and learn to live with some uncertainty. We can do this because our faith is meant to feed our hope and temper our fears. It brings to our lives the power of God’s goodness to transform hard hearts, to heal the wounds of sin and division, and to build trust again. The recent terrorist events of the past few weeks have tested this kind of faith. These tests can either kill our spirits or strengthen them. We must pray for the courage not to give into our fears but to build our trust in God and in people who believe in the true God of life and salvation. Bombs and guns will never rid the world of fear. Only a higher power, a stronger force can offer an alternative for our troubled spirits. All men and women who live in the grace of this divine mystery must work together to advance its effects in our world. Then fear will diminish, trust will grow, and hope for a better world will be restored.
A harmless noise or a new environment can set Baxter on edge. Cats are rather inflexible about those sorts of things. We are better than cats. Drawing upon our faith and how it can change our outlook, let us face our troubling world with trust in what the power of God can accomplish among those who hope in His love.