Friday, October 8, 2010

Fear and Faith

A couple of weeks ago, I sat through a message in church that I knew with every fiber of my being was wrong. I wanted to jump up and yell, scream, stomp out of church...something. I just sat there and did nothing but get more and more angry by the second. This time last year, I would not have thought as much about the message as now. This time last year my faith had not been tested to its limit. This time last year I was blissfully unaware that the baby growing in my womb had a fatal defect and would not live. This time last year I was as ignorant as my pastor on how fear and faith coexist.

Two weeks ago, the pastor of the church I attend preached a message on fear and faith. The basis of the message was that fear and faith are opposites. He said that if you have fear then it was impossible to have faith. He believes that someone who has total faith in God will possess no fear. At first, this made me question just how much faith I do have in God because I definitely possess fear. He preached from Exodus chapter 14, when Moses and the Children of Israel were release from Egyptian bondage and Pharaoh decided to follow them. The Lord led the Children of Israel toward the Red Sea and they were surrounded by impassable land and the sea. At this point in the bible it says that the people questioned Moses' motives. Why had be brought them this far to be killed. They had no faith that God would provide them a way out. In verse 13 of this chapter it says
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
The pastor pulled specifically from this verse. He said that because the people feared they had no faith. I question his thinking on this. I really question his thinking on this. I do not think that fear had anything at ALL to do with the lack of faith those people exhibited. I do not think their fear was a result of their lack of faith. I think even people with the strongest of faith have fear. Just look at Job. No one was more tested than that man. Through the fire, Job never lost faith. He did however fear. Fear is threaded throughout the book of Job. The bible itself tells us to fear God. Well I think fear is fear and you can not separate fear of God from other fear.
I have been through the fire, am walking through the fire, and I have fears...very definite fears. I also have deep faith and trust in God that He will carry me through the fire. Just because he carries us does not mean we avoid the fire or trials. Those trials do cause fear. They even produce more fear sometimes. At least that has been my experience. You know, I think a certain amount of fear is even healthy.

I am curious how others feel about this. Leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts on this. It will not hurt my feelings if you tell me I am off base. I know there are differing opinions out there. I am curious what yours is.

Much love,


  1. I believe fear can actually increase faith. Those two things are not mutually exclusive. Here are some verse from Job that you mentioned above:

    Job 3
    24 For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters.
    25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
    26 I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.

  2. I don't understand how you can have true faith and true love without fear. I have complete faith that I am on a guided path and that things are the way they are for a purpose, but I still fear the trying difficult times to come. I can't even fathom not fearing difficulties for the ones I love! I even think that fearing and overcoming proves that you do indeed have true faith! Great post!

  3. I agree with you Jennifer. I believe that a true sign of faith is to be afraid and still have faith that God will lead you through.
    Through Olivia my faith grew to a whole new level but I still had fear of what was to come.
    Thanks for sharing, got my mind going :)

  4. I agree with you and the comments above. :) If we had no fear, wouldn't we eventually stop running to God for help? If we could do this on our own and not have worries, why would we pray? We would become so confident in our faith, that our prayer-life would suffer. At least that's how I picture it. Yes "Perfect love drives out fear" but that doesn't mean permanently. We can always rest in the love of God but if our fear always went away for good, we wouldn't need Him as much. I do think that fear and faith exist at the same exact time. Deeper fear promotes a deeper chase after God and a desire for a deeper faith in Him. That's what I have learned! I guess that pastor hasn't really been through anything?

  5. Jennifer,
    One of the definitions of fear is this...'an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.' God created us...God made us with the capability of experiencing various emotions. Anger is one such anger a sin? Is being angry wrong? Not always! Ephesians 4:26 says, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:" I believe that just as a person can be angry without sinning...a person can also have fear and not commit a sin. A person can also have fear and that doesn't always mean they have a lack of faith!
    Sure the Bible tells us in numerous places not to fear what man can do unto us or problems in this life. The Bible also says if we fear, God is there with us. Off the top of my head I cannot recall one scripture verse that plainly states in every situation of life that fear is a lack of faith. Sure in some passages that is implied...but you have to look at those passages and the situations being discussed.
    My opinion, God created us with an instinct to fear certain things. Why? Because he knows that will help keep us safe from danger. Personally, I believe that gut instinct that most women (especially moms) have comes from unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. I believe God created mankind with that instinct. As Eli's mom your fear was a response that God created you to have! Your feeling was natural/normal...when you love someone you never want harm to come unto them!
    I also know that in my own life when I experience an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger, those are the times when I draw closer to God and I have seen my faith increase! The same is true with you!
    I cannot say for 100% certainty that fear and faith co-exist...but what I can tell you is this...when a person experiences fear and goes to God for help, faith will increase! Maybe people who state they never fear are really just people who are of little (or no) faith! I Peter 1:7 "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" The loss of our precious little Eli has been a trial of our faith! Your faith has been tried!!! To me, you had faith before the fear, during your fear, and even now! Hmmm...I believe that you had faith AND what do you think...can faith and fear co-exist? Remember this, one day when Jesus Christ appears your faith (and the trial you faced/still facing) will be found unto praise and honour and glory! Even as it is now to those around you!
    Love you & praying for you daily!

  6. hmm, faith and fear certainly coexist.
    We KNOW they do.
    My thoughts are more that our faith will never be a "perfect faith" on this side of heaven. So I'd say, it is because of sin that we fear, and it is our faith that comforts us in the midst of our fear.
    Thanks for this post and for sharing both your faith and fears here.

  7. I believe that you can have fear and faith. Like you said, I know that God will carry us through the fire ...ut, we still know that the fire is going to hurt. We are human. I know that God carried me through the past year and that I couldn't have made it through it without Him, but it was still the hardest year of my life.

  8. Well, let's the verses above show, Job greatly feared something happening to his children. Yet God called him "perfect" and later Job exhibited great faith saying, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him..." Just because we experience fear doesn't mean that we have no faith, it just shows that we have a realistic view of life.
    Terrible and tragic things do happen, and none of us are exempt. It is whether or not we trust God during those times that proves our faith. At least that's how I look at it.
    I love you and remember you all daily in prayer.

  9. “Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us to control our fears, not to oust them.” -Vincent McNabb

    thinking of you today...and well, everyday

  10. I don't think he was right at all. I think that a person can have both fear and faith. Anyone who has faced a great trial I think can say that.

  11. Jennifer, I think I remember that message and not as vividly as you of course. The message I got from it was that lack faith will produce fear. I really don't remember it as fear shows a lack a faith. Fear keeps us safe. That stove is hot I fear being burned I don't touch it. We are to fear God. I hope that it rubbed you wrong and was taken out of context---hmmm I dont know. Either way that would be my take on the subject. Talk to Pastor things like that don't need to be bottled up. God is good! God Bless you and your "growing" family.