FEARING WHERE THERE’S NO FEAR
“Shall not all they that work iniquity come to understanding, they that eat up my people as they eat bread? They have not called upon the Lord. There have they feared with fear where no fear is.” (Ps 52/53: 5-6, Septuagint-translation)
This Psalm is describing those of us who “eat up” other people, because we “have feared with fear where no fear is.” And this makes a lot of sense, if we pay attention to the reasons we “eat up,” or at least lash out at, other people. We might do this inwardly, in the form of quiet resentments, or outwardly, – sometimes in “subtle” forms like passive-aggressive sarcasm or passive obstructiveness, or in “less subtle” forms like spreading malicious gossip, or “fake news” about “them.” The main reason underlying this, and most of our other sinful patterns, is fear. And it’s not the good kind of fear – the only good kind, – which is the fear of God. It’s the merely-human kinds, which are, to name the most popular ones: 1. The fear of people and their opinions, 2. The fear of economic insecurity, and 3. The fear of being alone.
But to fear with these fears, as the Psalm quoted above tells me, means to fear “where no fear is.” These fears are not “real,” in the eyes of God; nor are they “real” in the eyes of one who embraces faith in God. Because faith is the opposite of fear. When God is “really” in my life; when I “really” let God be God in my life, rather than try to play God myself, by trying to control everything and everyone, along with their behavior, then I am relieved of carrying the weight of all my world’s “situations” on my own shoulders, and of the resulting “fear” of not being able to handle that.
So let me let God be God in my life today, and prayerfully hand over to Him that which is beyond my control. “Thy will be done” with all of us today, my loving and all-knowing God, “on earth as it is in heaven.”