Losing Our Fear
A phrase I have written down in my journal is one I repeat to myself again and again: “Feelings are not always truth-tellers, but they are always indicators.” Fear, and our ability to feel it, is not always a lie, as the expression goes. God equipped us with amygdalae, and I quite appreciate a brain that alerts me to risk. Without it, I wouldn’t survive very long, so the primary question is not whether our fear is lying to us but why we are feeling fear in the first place. An answer to the latter also answers the former and—BONUS!—helps us clear the path to a healthy reverence for things that can harm us without also crippling our faith.
In the book of Isaiah, God warns the prophet not to fall into the same mindset as the people of Judah, who were (understandably) frightened of the encroaching armies of Israel and Syria but had neglected to trust in God and, instead, had given their fear free reign to rule over their minds and hearts: “Don’t be like this people, always afraid somebody is plotting against them. Don’t fear what they fear. Don’t take on their worries. If you’re going to worry, worry about The Holy. Fear God-of-the-Angel-Armies” (Isa. 8:12–13, MSG).
The word fear can also be translated “revere.” God was asking Isaiah not to revere what the people of Judah revered. They were standing firm on the foundation of what scared them and, as humans are skilled at doing, had forgotten the God who had rescued them many times before. In the previous chapter of Isaiah, King Ahaz had been assured that Judah would not be overtaken by Israel and Syria, but his fear led him to bribe the Assyrians for protection and, eventually, they turned on Judah and caused incredible destruction.
What do these verses show us about the God-of-the-Angel-Armies? He is almighty. He is in control. He is holy. He can be trusted. He is fiercely protective of his children’s hearts and will not stand idly by while we fill them up with what he has warned us against. God was not asking the people of Judah to disregard their emotions. He is the One who made them, after all. He was challenging them—as he is challenging us—not to let their emotions rule them.
-Wendi Nunnery, Good Enough: Learning to Let Go of Perfect for the Sake of Holy
Watch this conversation with Wendi Nunnery