It’s always more than a little disconcerting when, in the middle of a bright sunny day, I feel fear creep into my heart. What do I have to be afraid of? Surely I live in one of the most safe and protected environments in the history of humankind! And yet I still get these pangs of real fear -- sometimes directly connected to some worry or another, for my family, my community, myself, for the world at large -- but sometimes the fear comes unattached to any particular worry, a general anxiety that drifts like a cloud over my chest.
We’ve all seen the terrible destruction that fear can create when it takes root in the heart. It can drive people, as individuals and as whole civilizations, to pull away from friends and neighbors and to have no mercy with enemies. People do the most horrible things when they are afraid, as though there is no evil that can’t be justified by sufficient fear.
And that’s why when I feel that disconcerting pang in my heart, I need to lean on the truth spoken in this week’s passage from 1 John: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” I know that my love is not perfect because I still feel the fear -- but I also know that my Savior is still with me, still working on me, still giving me moments where my heart is so full of love that there’s no room for any darkness at all.
Just one of those love-filled moments can sustain me through an eternity of anxiety and can allow my worries to become healthy acts of prudence rather than unhealthy sources of harmful behavior. May those moments be frequent for all of us this week, an antidote to all our pain and a reminder to keep God's perspective in mind as we confront the ups and downs of life.
Joy and peace be yours,