Someone set off fireworks last night which sent my dogs scurrying under the table, fearful of the noise. They’ll be doing it a few times more in the days leading up to Bonfire Night. They estimate that up to 45% of dogs experience fear of loud noises and I’ve got two of them.
People also experience fear. Forces veterans can fear fireworks due to PTSD taking them back to war experiences where the noise was much more threatening. A lot of people have been afraid of Covid. It’s perfectly understandable, but fear is debilitating and can stop people from enjoying life as God intended
I have always found a particular Bible story helpful when dealing with fear, and I’ve mentioned it before. It’s a story found in the book of Daniel and involves three of his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah who, along with Daniel was taken captive and transported from Jerusalem into Babylon. With God’s help, they thrived in Babylon until they disobeyed a royal edict or command. The King, Nebuchadnezzar, had heard remarkable things about his kingdom and it made him proud. He had an image made of gold, 90 feet high and 9 feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. People were told, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” (1) As faithful servants of God who worshipped only him the three men refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar and they were taken prisoner and prepared for the furnace. They spoke directly to Nebuchadnezzar who offered to save them if they would change their mind but instead, they said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (2) They were thrown into the furnace but God intervened to protect them.
It’s their attitude that’s important and how they dealt with fear. They realised two things. One that God can protect them but it’s entirely a decision of his sovereign will if he does so. Secondly, if God chooses not to protect them that’s fine, he is God and he knows what he is doing. You can face any situation with that attitude and you can do it without fear. God will protect me but if he doesn’t, he doesn’t. That’s up to him and he always does what is right.
A Bible verse that I also find helpful is this one, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” (3) It’s now 48 years since I first trusted in the Lord Jesus and every day I am aware of his perfect love for me. This is the one who chose to die to deal with my sins and bring me forgiveness from God. I am now a child of God and the subject of his constant blessing. It is my joy and privilege to live my life in his service. As I do so I’m constantly surrounded by his love and protection, and I know that no harm can overcome me unless he allows it. If he does allow it why should I fear? Jesus is the Almighty God who knows all things, the beginning from the end, and whatever happens to me is always for the best. It may be unpleasant at the time but ultimately it will be the right thing for me.
I’m so thankful that in this fear-driven world God’s perfect love has cast out my fear. I’ve suffered some painful experiences and I’ve no reason to assume that I won’t suffer more, but I’m not afraid. God is in control of my life and this world, and I trust him to do what is right.
- Daniel 3:4-6
- Daniel 3:16-18
- 1 John 4:18