When Fear and Dread Rage

Adam and Eve had it easy. No shame, no fear, no intimidation. They must have been like little children, excitedly chattering about their discoveries and making God smile.

In a fallen world, however, fear and dread lie just below the surface. Times of crisis heave us into uncertainty. We feel we are victims of our circumstances. We see no way out.

Fear is a strong emotion that surfaces when we become aware of potential danger.

Dread is fear on steroids—an extreme uneasiness in the face of pain, uncertainty, and evil. Fear and dread are like armed robbers, forcing us to empty our emotional bank accounts while staring down the barrel of impending doom.

It’s worse for kids.

Unresolved childhood trauma can maim people for life. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Austrian psychoanalyst Victor Frankl, who survived a Nazi concentration camp, said that people bear up under pain if they see meaning in it.

The ultimate meaning of life is revealed in God’s Word, the Bible. It is because of the truth God reveals there that we may declare to ourselves, and to the rising generation: “We will not live in fear.”

The Psalmist David wrote, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3). God, in the Bible, doesn’t tell us to run away from difficulty. He tells us to run toward it:

  • Fear paralyzes, but we bless others (Gal. 3:6-9).
  • Fear hoards, but we share (Eph. 4:28).
  • Fear curses bad fortune, but we gain wisdom to understand the times (1 Chron. 12:32).
  • Fear resigns itself to fate, but we give the reason for our hope (1 Pet. 3:15).