There is a saying that goes “Kiguoya kianukeire nyina.” Direct translation: “the coward went home to the mother”. Fear can turn out for our good. There is ‘healthy’ fear. For example a young man who finds himself in a compromising situation, should literally flee on his feet and go back home, to avoid his ‘little Johnny’ introducing motherhood to a teen girl. For a married woman, who finds it hard to say no to over-indulging, she should respectfully turn down an invitation to evening meeting, where alcohol is served in plenty. You get the drill? In Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom…” Godly fear is the genesis of wisdom. Thus wisdom is the fruit of fearing God for who He is. This same wisdom will further guard us from making wrong decisions that most certainly will bring unpleasant life experiences.
The ‘unhealthy’ fear keeps us from achieving our goals and realising our full potential. I once failed in my Kiswahili exam. It was the era of corporal punishment (children were not warned with a pointing finger accompanied by looks that could kill). The teacher sent us to Lenana Forest to get sticks from a specific tree so that we would be whacked. There I was, first time in the forest, my classmates and I, half walking, half running, dry mouths, hearts pounding, we fearfully searched for the sticks. In obedience we took them back to school where we were thoroughly caned. It affected me I feared the subject and grew a dislike.
Sometime last year, thieves broke into our home and helped themselves with household goods and food. I was filled with panic and fear, more so when they tried to gain entry into my bedroom. I was alone with my young children. Somehow I found the courage to scream my lungs out. God guarded our door.
Currently, the ‘healthy’ fear will guard us from infecting others and getting infected with Covid-19. The ‘unhealthy’ fear, if left unchecked, can fill us with paranoia or obsession with the virus and paralyse to a point of clouding our minds.
In Isaiah 41:10, it is written “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Just like the Israelites, we need not fear because 1) God is with us “I am with you”. Physically I can use ten padlocks to guard from any repeat theft. But what will guard my mind from fear? It is from knowing that God is with me. Though I cannot see him, by faith I believe he is present. 2) “I am your God”. He has established a relationship with us that is unchanging. It shouldn’t vary with our emotions. How reassuring and safe that sounds! 3) God gives us assurance of his strength, help when we grow weary. Aren’t you tired with the curfew? 4) His righteous hand will uphold us because it spells out promises of living in obedience and the need to discipline us in love, this it will certainly keep us from falling astray.
My nights are no longer filled with fear. If I would take a picture while sleeping, I know I will have a smile on my face. As for the Kiswahili subject, I forgave the teacher.
One of my favourite songs is by Casting Crowns; oh my soul. It says, Oh my soul you are not alone… there is a place where fear has to face the God you know, one more day, He will make a way, let Him show you how you can lay this down’.
Has fear shipwrecked your faith? Let it go. Confess it to God. Ask Him to take away the spirit of fear, and fill you with the right Spirit, that is of power, of love and of sound mind. Do it now.
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