The Dispelling of Fear

Our daily Epiphany reflection for this week is about light. We hope you read the scriptures and pray with us each day this week.

The darkConfession time: I am afraid of the dark. Notice I didn’t say was. AM.

That’s probably not the most manly thing to admit, but I’m ok with it for several reasons. First, it’s not that I’m “freak-out-and-lose-all-control-of-my-bodily-functions” afraid of the dark. It’s so much more subtle than that. I simply experience a general anxiety in pitch black.

And secondly, I doubt that I’m alone on this. Nearly all of us were afraid of the dark at some point in our lives. And I venture to say that many of us still have some uneasiness in murksome surroundings.

Think about all of the feelings and deep fears that darkness connects us to:
Being alone
The unknown
Loss of direction
Loss of control

No wonder this is a near-universal experience. Darkness can touch us deep within our souls. But you don’t have to dig very far below the surface to get to our fears. Fear tends to affect the way we relate to our spouses, our choices, our performance at work, how we pray or the way we parent. Fear is a close companion on our daily journey. Darkness can simply bring those fears to the out in the open.

So as I’ve worked through our weekly Epiphany reflection, there is one quality of light Trevor mentioned that has spoken to me: Light does not oppose darkness; light dispels it.

Darkness is not the opposite of light, but merely the absence of it. When light is present, darkness disappears. The two cannot coexist.

Where there is light, there is no darkness.

Of all the commands in the New Testament, one is repeated more than any other. Over and over again, Jesus urges his followers: “Do not be afraid.” Whether caught in a storm on the lake (John 6) or worried over his ascension back into heaven (Matthew 28), his message was consistent. “Do not be afraid.”

Instead of being ruled by fear, we are to be defined by faith, courage and love. And “perfect love expels all fear” (1 John 4:8)

Because where Jesus is, there is no fear.

It’s a perfectly normal reaction to be scared sometimes. When people hurt you. When the bills begin to pile up. When a loved one is sick or dying. When you face uncertainty and hard choices. It is the darkness of these moments that causes our fears rise to the surface.

Jesus does not oppose the fear of these moments, he drives it out. When we let Christ rule even in our uncertainty or pain, fear cannot exist. The love of Christ dispels fear.

So today may you let Christ break into your places of pain or weakness where fear can so easily dominate. May the love of Jesus shine in like a bright light dispelling the darkness of fear. And may we all bask in the light of that perfect love.

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