Editorial – Fear

Fear is one of the most powerful forces in our world. Fear causes people to do all sorts of things that otherwise they would never consider doing. A few days ago, the chief executive of a large financial institution, which would have gone bankrupt if the government of the United States had not decided to bail it out, said in effect that there was nothing intrinsically wrong with their balance sheet or income statement, but that the problem that had developed was a loss of confidence by their customers in the marketplace.

Fear causes governments to spend more money on military build-ups than in helping their poor and underprivileged citizens—they are afraid of the consequences in wartime if they are not prepared. Fear causes people to hoard money and food and all manner of assets or goods, to spend a large share of their income on insurance, to worry, and even sabotage their efforts to solve the real problems in life, to associate together in unions, to get married for fear of loneliness or future insecurity.

What are you afraid of? Fear leads to anxiety—a troubled heart. One of the wonderful effects of the gospel is its ability to deliver the fearful from their fears and anxieties.

When Jesus approached the boat full of his disciples who were terrified because of the storm and because they thought that He was a Spirit apparition, He said, “Be of good courage, it is I myself; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:27.

What we want to understand is why do we not need to be afraid. Ellen White explains it like this:

“How often the disciples’ experience is ours! When the tempests of temptation gather, and the fierce lightnings flash, and the waves sweep over us, we battle with the storm alone, forgetting that there is One who can help us. We trust to our own strength till our hope is lost, and we are ready to perish. Then we remember Jesus, and if we call upon Him to save us, we shall not cry in vain. Though He sorrowfully reproves our unbelief and self-confidence, He never fails to give us the help we need. Whether on the land or on the sea, if we have the Saviour in our hearts, there is no need of fear. Living faith in the Redeemer will smooth the sea of life, and will deliver us from danger in the way that He knows to be best.” The Desire of Ages, 336.