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  • Writer's pictureStephen Percy

What are you afraid of?

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. | Psalm 46:1-2 (NLT)

Thalassophobia; Scoleciphobia; Chronophobia; Spheksophobia; Pogonophobia; Achondroplasiaphobia; Phobophobia; Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia. *

Now there are a few strange words, but you will notice that each ends in the word ‘phobia’. Yes you have guessed it these are all words meaning the fear of something, ‘phobia’ being the Greek word for ‘fear’. There are more than 100 of these words because modern society has so many fears. I wonder what you are afraid of today as you read this?

It is highly likely that you are afraid of something because reading the Bible we find that fear is something that entered human existence very early on. We read that after Adam had disobeyed God that God was looking for Adam and Eve in the garden and what does Adam say in Genesis 3, verse 10: “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” God knows that we will daily have fears because the words “Do not be afraid” appear 365 times.

The psalmist is here reminding himself and us that God is in control so there is nothing to fear even in the face of natural disasters. Apparently Martin Luther, when in greatest distress, would call for this psalm, saying, “Let us sing the forty-sixth psalm in concert; and then let the devil do his worst.” Jesus reminds us in Luke’s gospel that: “There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things……” Just what we see today.

In all of the instances of life that make us fearful, worry about the interview tomorrow, worry about where our next shilling is coming from, fear of what other people may think of me, etc, the bible has something comforting and reassuring to say.

I was brought up to fear what other people may think, for example to wear clean underwear just in case I got knocked down by a car and ended up in hospital. This kind of fear was removed from me when I became a Christian and realised that the standard for me is the Lord Jesus Christ and his standard is my aim in life not what other people think of me.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

So don’t worry (be fearful) about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:31-34

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.

*I will leave you to look up the ‘phobia’ words yourself!

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