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Antidote to Fear

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

"Hear my voice, O God, in my meditation;
preserve my life from the fear of the enemy."

(Psalm 64:1)

"Has the string of shootings changed the way you go about your daily life?" Popping up on my computer monitor, this thought-provoking question begged for an email response.

In stopping to think about how secure I feel in the community around me today, I began to get caught up with what I had been hearing and seeing on television and reading in print concerning snipers taking pot-shots at people, the tactics of an enemy, killing for no apparent reason, desiring to place fear into people's minds. And then, I remembered.

During the trying times of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said to the nation on the radio in his first inaugural address, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself!" This long-remembered speech was given as an assurance to a frightened people who did not know what was going to happen.

FDR knew the tactics of an enemy: to strike fear into hearts, creating foreboding anxieties, terror enough to paralyze, demoralizing and immobilizing into discouragement and depression so as to be unable to function.

Things haven't changed. Three days after Jesus was crucified, the disciples, separated from the One whom they had come to know as their Master, gathered huddled together in great sorrow. They mourned the loss of their Friend and feared for their own lives as well.

So great was their fear, they had forgotten what Jesus had spoken to them before His departure to be crucified. "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)

These great men of God who followed Jesus had hung on His every word and swore their allegiance to follow wherever He went. Yet they still needed to learn more.

The newly resurrected Jesus came through locked doors, appeared before the trembling disciples, and said, "Peace be with you." It was as if He said, "Why are you afraid? I told you I would not leave or forsake you. Did you not believe Me?"

Jesus continues to speak to us as well. Can we truly believe, along with the Old Testament prophet's promise? "You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." (Isaiah 26:3) He alone overcomes the spirit of fear and brings His peace. Stay your mind on Him.

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© Constance Vanides