Lest you esteem me confident in my faith, and, according to its commission, without doubt, I admonish you: I am forever living in fear.
Do not think me hopeless, either because of others’ malevolence or my own trepidation. Though I am constantly fearful of what may happen—to me or to the world I love—it is not altogether a debilitating fear. For in Christ there was fear before he was brought before Pilate and whipped, and before he was nailed to the cross at Golgotha. But am I not bound (as was Christ, being joint heirs with him) to see fear as opportunity and not as brokenness? Did not Christ, believing in the redeeming love of God, whatever fate that necessitated? I have long since accepted that I am broken, but fear is another matter—a sign of possibility according to the miraculous love of God. It is in fear that faith is most firm, calling the unknown to procure for us our own salvation, according to the great and lasting love of the Divine.
I cannot pretend to know how that love is. Already in my short life, there have been many instances when my own certainty in the manifestation of God’s love has proved to be utterly fallacious. And for the better! Because, as I was able to see thereafter, my own sure prediction of how God’s love would be manifest might have threatened the seemingly inviolable—life, love, and goodness. I try, then, to be more trusting these days, to know I know nothing at all of how love is best served and serves in the world. But I am confident in this at least: the God of many names will grant us the redemption we seek if we but trust. That is to say, if, knowing nothing, we trust God to know everything.
But it is more than this, for we hesitate to cling to faith in moments where doubt and fear prevail because we cannot imagine God has our best interest in mind. Why would a foreign God, a God outside ourselves that we cannot see, have some deep and lasting investment in our well-being? Thus, comes faith—the faith which turns God from an outsider to one of us. Indeed, God is a part of ourselves and we a part of God. And if that is true, wouldn’t God be acting out of love for himself as much as everyone? If we choose to use this logic (below God’s logic, I’m quite sure, but it gets us closer to the idea of uninhibited Divine love), then we can open our eyes to faith in the One who made us and who lives constantly with us.
And what of fear? On the one hand, it is empty, for it has no foundation. If it were possible for God to be disaffected, to care nothing for those created but outside himself, then surely that fear would be as strong and lasting as the interminable rays of summer sun. But that is impossible, for if God’s love were affected, we would hardly known the presence of goodness for its own sake. On the other hand, fear is a blessing—a gift from God. It’s quite difficult to see that in the moment, but give the idea a moment to bloom. Fear is the bold, unshakable opportunity to have faith that God will provide and all will be well. And perhaps our resolution of fear is not what God would give to us, but it is perhaps better to trust that the One whose sight covers all creation decides how that fear will be resolved.
If it is the fear of something that may come to pass, then we open ourselves to the good of it coming and the good of it not coming. We reserve our own bias because we know God’s wisdom is wiser than our wisdom. And if, in the moment, that redounds to our pain or suffering, we look for the good and we open our heart to the blessing.
If it is the fear of something that has come to pass, we embrace one thing above all others and let that carry us on: God endures by love alone, and we in him, and together is manifested life in sum.
And so, as much a message to myself as others, I encourage you to embrace fear as an opportunity, as a blessing. Be at peace with its wandering, and know that it is no obstacle to overcome but a glory to embrace. Where there is fear, there is God.
Forever yours, anxious and fearful, but always striving to put my faith in God,