Encouraging words: From darkness of fear, to light of hope
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Herald recently reached out to clergy members across the community, requesting they submit letters of prayer or words of encouragement for Herald readers.
“Fear is the darkroom where negatives develop,” my friend is fond of saying. This is so true. In the dark room of fear, the production of negative thoughts, emotions and actions is at work double time; blood pressure elevates, heart rate increases, thoughts run rampant and so often our closest relationships receive the accumulation of the negatives that have developed.
The Covid-19 crisis is generating very needed caution but it is also producing unhealthy fears. Fears built on the anticipations of unknowns. Caution and planning is wise, but unchecked fear is crippling and destructive. Did you know that “do not fear” is the most often repeated command in the Bible?
How do we fight our unwanted fears?
I’ll tell you what doesn’t work for me. I generally can’t fight my fears directly. Fear most often wins when I focus on fighting it in a frontal attack. Most effective are two simple, not simplistic, actions: I turn the light on and I refocus my eyes.
You may remember this from your childhood. When the room is dark and fear is developing, you or someone else turns the light on and says, “look.” Turning the light on brings truth into the space and allows us to readjust our focus.
For me, the light and refocus come through my relationship with Jesus Christ or others who love Him. You may have heard that Jesus is called the “light of the world” (John 8:12). His presence and love are fear diminishing. He brings light (truth) and allows refocus to our thinking. Prayer, worship, music, reading Scripture and loving friends help bring light and refocus. These help us step out of the darkroom where negatives are developed.
During this time of crisis and fear please bring the light of your presence and help us focus on your love, your care and your presence. Give us a deep trust in you that crushes our fears with hope. God be our refuge and strength. Amen.