• Li Juaneza

The antidote to fear

I had never been to a cave that opens out into the deep blue sea – Balintang Channel on the Philippine side or Bashi Channel from the Taiwan side. My sister Maan carefully walked into the cave while calling out my name. I couldn’t understand why she was hesitant to follow me.


This cave is similar to the one on Morong Beach. Who would have guessed that the exhilaration of experiencing a beautiful sight like this can quickly be replaced by fear in a split second?

I beckoned her to come closer to where I was at the mouth of the cave so she could see what I was marveling at. The sparkling azure waters, puffy clouds framed by the light blue sky, and the gentle splashing of waves onto the reef on the cave floor were mesmerizing.


We stood together for a few minutes enjoying Batanes’ beautiful nature display before heading back to where we came from.


Then I saw it.


A long black snake with white stripes stretched out on the wall at the right side of the entrance of the cave (which is now our exit). I shrieked and in sheer panic ran out.


As I caught my breath outside, I remembered I left my sister behind!

I quickly went back near the entrance and yelled at her to come out now and watch out for the snake. When Maan got out, we both burst into nervous laughter then she chided me for leaving her behind. I was embarrassed and very apologetic and kept saying sorry.


We later found out that the snake was a common venomous snake, but relatively docile as long as you leave it alone. I now understood why she was hesitant in following me inside the cave because she knew that snakes love damp caves!


Do not succumb to fear


There are sudden moments of fright like the one I experienced and there are also micro moments of anxiety and doubt that can build up to an overwhelming sense of fear.

Whatever they are, giving in to fear is never good.


Acting in fear can lead to making unwise decisions. We end up having a tunnel vision disregarding everything else without considering consequences. It’s exactly what happened in that cave in Morong Beach. In a moment of utter terror, I forgot about my sister and left her behind.


It’s incredible what fear can make us do.

Acting in fear also leads to chaos. Recently, a footage of Filipinos clamoring to get vaccinated went viral. In their fear of missing the day’s cutoff, all health protocols were abandoned as people jostled their way to the front of the line.


We buckle under fear because we lose focus on God. We tend to regard ourselves too much and what people around us say. One such example is Saul, Israel’s first king,


The approval of men does not impress God. He is moved when we obey Him.

God’s instruction to Saul was to destroy all of Amalek - men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys. Saul, however, disobeyed God. He unashamedly told the prophet Samuel that he sinned against God because he feared the people and obeyed their voice.


Samuel told Saul that God had already rejected him as king of Israel, but he still asked Samuel to honor him before the elders of his people and Israel. Saul’s main concern was how he’ll look good in front of people.


Many voices spouting lies or facts can cripple us in fear distracting us from the truth and God’s commands. This is exactly what happened to the Israelites when they listened to the 10 men tasked by Moses to spy out Canaan, their promised land.


The men gave a good description of the abundance of the land and its inhabitants. They emphasized however that giants lived in the land they were going to conquer, claiming that Israel did not stand a chance against them.


Joshua and Caleb on the other hand tried to convince the people that with God on their side, those giants did not stand a chance against them.

Fear, unfortunately, had already been sown into the hearts of the Israelites.


They wept and wailed all night complaining to God wishing that they had never left Egypt, even planning a return to the land of their enslavement. Their rebellion angered God which led Him to declare that all of the men who had seen His glory and signs in Egypt and in the wilderness, had tested Him and not obeyed His voice, will not see the land that He swore to give to their fathers. Also, none of those who despise Him will see it.


God effectively set apart Joshua, Caleb, and their families as the only ones who will enter Canaan. Joshua and Caleb did not give in to the overwhelming facts of the situation, but chose to believe that God will bring them to the promised land.


How not to fear


There is one verse in the Bible that specifically addresses this:


1 John 4:18, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in love (ESV)."


God is love, so what the verse actually says is, in God there is no fear.

We are able to overcome uncertain and overpowering situations because of God’s abundant love. God will make a way even in the most trying circumstances because He loves us.


There is wisdom in God's love too. Job 12:13 reminds us that “. . . God is wisdom and might.

He has counsel and understanding (WEB).“ We are rest assured that we're on the right track when we act in His love.


It is a simple truth but difficult for many to accept because we tend to look for a 3-step solution, or some kind of formula, or process to overcome fear. God in His wisdom made the answer simple and readily available so we won’t have difficulty accessing it.


How do we experience God’s love?


Receive it. He is ready to pour out His love on us and all we need to do is to open our hearts. It's as simple as saying, "Father, I open my heart to You. Fill me with Your perfect love and remove any fear within me." His love and His Spirit will fill you instantly even if you don't feel anything. You just entered into a trust relationship with Him.


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash.

Rest in Him. In reality, we trust those in charge of public transportation like drivers, pilots, and captains more than we trust God. We rest and relax when traveling but we get anxious when we place our lives in God’s hands.


When we trust God, we know that He is not bound by anything except His love and righteousness. That means everything He does will wield good things for us even if current conditions suggest otherwise.


We literally can rest in Him and be at peace because He has already overcome everything.


Focus on Him. Do social media, face time, TV, games, chores, and other activities fill your day? Where does Bible reading, praise and worship, prayer, listening, and meditation fit in? Are you feeding your fear or your hope in God?


Consider these:


When we fear, we stand on shaky ground.


When we fear, we lose our peace.


When we fear, we lose the opportunity to receive and give love.


When we receive God’s love, we have:

  • Peace

  • Rest

  • Security

  • Comfort

  • Wisdom

  • Joy

  • Hope

  • Healing

  • Restoration

  • Transformation

  • Grace

  • Freedom

  • No fear

Be free from fear today. Open your heart to God's love and trust Him.

"When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you." Psalm 56:3, WEB

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