Living in Faith, Not Fear

Monday, January 25th, 2016

My wife and I recently had an experience on an airplane flight which was a first for us. The flight was boarded and the door was shut. We had already gone through the normal pre-flight safety talks and were taxiing out to the main runway, when the person next to us unbuckled his seatbelt and jumped and walked briskly to the front of the plane. The stewardess tried to get the man to sit down, but he was clearly agitated and was undeterred. As it turned out, he was having a panic attack. He had become so overwhelmed by fear that he had insisted that he must get off the plane. The stewardess spoke with the pilot and, quite mercifully, he decided to return to the gate and let him off the plane.

After everything calmed down and we were back on the runway, his friend (who remained on the flight) explained to those close by that his friend was very fearful about flying. We inquired if he had always had this fear. To our surprise he said that his friend had flown fairly regularly all of his life. However, in the wake of the downed Russian plane and other terrorist events in recent days he had developed a heightened fear of flying. I think we can all relate to this story.

The whole experience reminded me of the power of fear. We live in a day when fear has raised its ugly head at every turn. We fear terrorism. We fear the unknown. We fear economic collapse. We fear a falling stock market. We fear for our health. We live in a culture obsessed with safety which also has the unintended consequence of fueling fear. There is quite a bit of fear which is driving the current political climate.

This is the time to remember Psalm 11. The psalm personifies the voice of fear: “Flee like a bird to your mountain. For look the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” These few verses give us the two main objectives of fear. First, fear always calls us to withdraw from the world so we can find a place of safety. Second, it tells us that things have gone so awry, there is nothing we as the people of God can do to restore hope. However, Jesus reminds us that even though we will have trouble in this world, we need not fear because He has overcome the world. We have been called to boldly enter this world, with all of its brokenness. We must be bearers of hope in the midst of fear. One of the most important messages we can bear today is that we do not need to live in fear, because God is in control!

Comments

  • Mary Page says:

    Isaiah 7:11 “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”

    While avoiding fear or at least not having it how do you avoid “Deep Sheol” :)….

    Talking about no fear and the impending Oregon conference ….. how do we help small churches live in faith with no fear Visit every Monday at Highlands UMC with my friend Diane (Emmaus group). They started an ESL group and it is full. They are doing an ecumenical Beth Moore study with 3 other churches and the Catholics. 🙂 Looking for ways to make missions more than a day.. told them of NIA (neighborhoods in action)… parsonage is empty, man and wife preacher team. She is at St. Mark’s and he is at Highlands (John Saxon?) They don’t know what to do with it. Small church but we have had massive growth in this area and pondering how to reach millennials and serve.

    Diane wants one Sunday in the Methodist church where we meet at the church and the pastor sends us out in the community during worship time (told her about the sermon series IMPACT) Just crawling all over Highlands when they think we are in the building. Catch the devil and send him packing. LOL…

    So how can small churches do global ( sometimes they go to Mexico) and do more meaningful longterm missions…. If God is in control how do we plug in..

  • Mary Page says:

    IN case you need a good laugh or an ICE BREAKER for class or sermon

    Riddles
    Which biblical character was the youngest to speak foul language?
    AAAAAJob, because he cursed the day he was born.

    Did you know Jesus was an American Indian?
    AAAAAHis name was chief cornerstone.

    Who was the fastest runner in the bible?
    AAAAAAdam because he started first in the human race.

    Why didn’t Cain bring God an acceptable offering?
    AAAAABecause he wasn’t Abel!

    How did Moses make his tea?
    AAAAA”Hebrewed” it

    Who is the shortest man in the Bible?
    AAAAANehemiah (KneehighMiah)

  • Mary Page says:

    Look he is one of yours…..
    Let us see if Ashbury can get that church to grow like the area has challenge hehehhe

    Rev. John Seaton
    Rev. John Seaton is an ordained elder in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Management from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA as well as a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY.

  • TJ says:

    Unfortunately, statements like this “One of the most important messages we can bear today is that we do not need to live in fear, because God is in control!”, makes a false assumption about mental illness and anxiety in particular. Panic attacks, anxiety etc. are entirely different from the “fear” you speak of.