Fear: Cause and Cure

14 July 2021

The Christian faith doesn’t doubt the existence of fear in people’s lives. It accepts it as a reality and interprets it. Fear is the product of our Fall into sin- that which opened the gates for every kind of fear to enter our life, and therefore the tragedy of our time on earth.

But with Christ’s coming, we  found our true path again and once more felt the love and friendship of our surroundings, on all sides. Christ shed abundant light on our life, so that we could see that God is truly our friend and Father, a person like us, our brother, our nature and our sister. In reality, after Christ’s coming, there’s nothing in our life that can threaten us. Because through him we became once more the children of God. Christ took us into himself and became our raiment: ‘As many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ’ (Gal. 3, 27). We’re concealed and secure within our all-powerful and all-good God himself. He’s our home; that of our soul and body. And, even more, he becomes the mystical dweller within our soul. He promised that he would reside within us. ‘I will live with them and walk among them’ (cf. 2 Cor. 6, 16).

If our spiritual eyes were open, we’d see that we’re forever being inundated by light, the truth, life and love. In other people, in the whole of creation, we’d see the all-good presence of God, as we would that of our guardian angel. As Saint Paul cried: ‘If God is with us, who is against us?’ (Rom. 8, 31). The great ascetic teacher, Saint Isaac the Syrian has the following inspiring words to say on the subject: ‘Let thoughts of fear disturb you not at all… but consider rather that you have God himself as your protector, who is with you. Let your mind tell you the truth of this: that you and the whole of creation are servants of one and the same Lord who, with a motion of his hand, moves and shakes, orders and arranges all things. No servant can harm another unless it’s allowed by God who is provident and governs all things… The demons, wild beasts and wicked people cannot carry out their will for the destruction and perdition of a person when God, who governs all, does not wish it. And even if he does allow it, he sets boundaries to the extent to which they can do harm’.

Naturally, a precondition for  this reality of grace is faith in Christ. Without that, fear continues to mark our lives. Christ himself revealed this. The antidote to fear is faith: ‘Do not fear; only believe’ (Mark 5, 36), he says to each one of us, to this day. ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Believe in God and believe in me’ (Jn. 14, 1; 27). And it’s understood that real faith always co-exists with love: ‘faith expressing itself through love’ (Gal. 5, 6). This is also why ‘there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear’ (1 Jn. 4, 18).