Seeing Through the Eyes of Fear
Fear is our biggest problem. We all have fear. We are very familiar with fear. Fear makes us powerless and when we are trapped in fear, even the things that we used to do so well, somehow we cannot do very well. And when fear takes confidence away from us, when you see life with the eyes of fear, life looks difficult. We only see problems in life. So with your eyes of fear, if you see yourself, you see only weakness and also incapability. When you see other people with eyes of fear, they look like they are enemies rather than friends. So that’s what fear does. But we all know that fear is not necessarily all bad. It is an inevitable reality, but sometimes fear is good too. Proverbs said: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10 NRSV). So that fear makes us recognize who we are and also makes us humble. Of course here, the word “fear” does not mean phobia, it’s the other respect. But fear is needed to make us humble. And also when we have fear, we can prepare ourselves for the danger that is coming towards us. So fear is not always bad. And also, fearlessness is not always good. Some people think that fearlessness is good, but fearlessness is not always good.
What is True Courage?
Courage is not fearlessness. People misunderstand that. Courage is not fearlessness. Getting rid of fear in our lives, from our system, is not the solution for life. We can never do that anyway. But getting rid of fear is not our life goal or is not the solution for our lives. People run away from reality to get rid of their fear. So sometimes they drink, they take drugs, even religious zeal is used to get rid of this fear. They try so hard to get rid of this fear. But I wonder whether we need to do that. Do we need to get rid of this fear? Is it our goal? I don’t think so. And all of these things we try, they may help us to forget our fear, but it doesn’t get rid of fear within us. We don’t like to live with fear because it is not a good feeling to always be fearful. It torments us. Sometimes people pretend that they have no fear when they have lots of fear. When I used to bike with Grace when she was really young, one day we went out and then we were biking together and then all of a sudden that this huge, scary, dog started chasing after us. So we stopped and I covered it, the dog. And then I looked at my daughter Grace, and then she looked at me and said: “Were you scared?”. So I replied “No! I’m wasn’t scared!”. Of course, I was so scared. She probably saw the fear in my face and that’s why she asked. So pretending that you have no fear doesn’t help.
Fear Will Always be With Us
Danger is always around us. That means fear will it always be around us and within us. But just because fear is around us, that doesn’t mean that we need to be trapped in fear. So it is one thing to have fear within you, it is another thing to be trapped in fear. The reason we let fear completely sabotage our life and let it oppress us is because we focus on fear. Fear is around us, but when you start focusing on fear, that fear will sabotage and will paralyze us. We make ourselves afraid of fear. When we look at today’s Psalm, “When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh… Though an army encamp against me” (Psalm 27:2 NRSV), So war was around. The enemies were surrounding him. He was surrounded by this tremendous crisis. He was in a situation where fear was waiting to devour him up, but they’re in the midst of all this dangerous and fear, this is what he confessed: “Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.” (Psalm 27:3 NRSV). He did not let fear come into him and conquer his heart, so that his life will be may be paralyzed. He didn’t let fear do that. Even though he looked at the fear all around him, he did not focus on fear to let fear control his life. It was in front of him, it was at his back, it was on his right and left, but the fear somehow cannot conquer this person’s heart. I think that’s what’s important. Fear is there, but whether that fear conquers your heart or not. The secret of the Psalmist was this. Listen to what he said: “One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4 NRSV). In other words, he looked to the beauty of the Lord. He didn’t focus on fear, but he focused on the beauty of the Lord. Then, when he did that, he received this wisdom.
Focus on God, not Fear
He said: “For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock (Psalm 27:5 NRSV). That insight became reality to him. Before, fear kind of scared him, but now God, “he will hide me in his shelter”. That kind of confidence is not “brain knowledge”. It is not a concept. It is something like power within him. He had this power to be able to understand that God is with me. God is strong and God’s strong hand are holding me. He had that kind of confidence at that moment. In other words, he overcame fear. He didn’t let fear conquer him. He conquered fear. I think that’s what’s important. Focus. Where do you focus on? Fear or on God? When you focus on God, then we’ll get this insight and we will get confidence.
Yes. Fear will be always with us and it is important for us to confront our fear instead of running away from it. Rather than turning our face away from fear, we need to confront fear, but do not focus on fear, but focus on God. In life. There are things that you need to focus on and there are things that you need to just look at. For example, sorrow, guilt, hatred, anger, fear, worries and anxiety. They’ll always be around you. Don’t pretend that you don’t have these. These things will be always around you, but you just look at them. You don’t focus on them. These are the things that you just look at, then they’ll pass by. If there is worry, fear, anger, if you just look at them, they pass by. But things like love, forgiveness, faith and hope. These are the things that you don’t just look at them, you focus on them. You focus on these things and these good things will start changing you and transforming you
Seeking God’s Face
This is what the Psalmist said: “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek.” (Psalm 27:8 NRSV) This is what we need. When you are filled with fear, seek God’s face. You don’t need to be so scared of our fear. Be comfortable with fear, but seek after God’s face. Focusing on God, that’s what meditation is. Every day, you meditate. Meditation is to focus on God, so that all the negative things that are happening in your life, you don’t get swayed and swamped by these things, but you get confidence, strength, and true power within you. Confidence in life is not something that you can gain by will. “Okay, from today, I’m going to be confident!”, you can’t do that! Confidence has to be built up within you. When you focus on God, that confidence will be built up within your heart. The Psalmist confessed: “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14 NRSV). Waiting means confidence. Even though your situation is not very good, you can wait because you have confidence that someday you’ll be able to overcome your hardships. To not fear your fear. Seek God’s face. You’ll be alright in God’s hands. I know it is very difficult right now, but you’ll be alright.