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Fear Not

This summer, we took a family vacation to Colorado in May. It was great to see the beauty of the mountains, forests and streams. We took a drive up to Pike’s Peak. As we ascended up to the summit, I started to look down. Big mistake. I grew up in Northwest Arkansas with lot of mountains and curvy mountain roads, but these were serious! I started feeling a sense of vertigo and discomfort while driving. I made it back down, but I experienced the same feelings of fear on the way down.

There are multiple roads in Colorado that get closed during the winter, only to open again when the snow begins to melt as temperatures rise and roads are cleared. We were in western CO and needed to get back to Denver to catch our flights, so my wife found a way from Aspen to Denver via Independence Pass. It just so happened that this was the first day that we road through the pass would be open.

This road is a 32 mile journey through the Rocky mountains, crosses the Continental Divide and reaches over 12,000 feet at the summit, making it one of the highest passes in Colorado. The night before we were to drive it, my wife started reading some information about it on TripAdvisor. Stories of blind turns, one lane roads, steep drop-offs, fatalities, lack of guard rails, and stories of people kissing the ground after making it through the pass alive, began making me second guess this decision. I’m not sure I want do do this! Fear started to grip me. This sounds like a terrible decision. If going up Pike’s Peak (which is a well-travelled road) was not comfortable, what would this be like? What would happen if I met a big truck or RV on the part that is only one lane? Would I be forced to back down a mountain without any guard rails? After all, this was the first day that the road was open, so there would likely be a lot of traffic. What would happen if there was a rock slide? Fears began to swirl in my head. I even dreamed about it. The next morning, I had to make a decision. Would I be ok to drive through the pass, or should we detour a couple of hours around to get to Denver?

I had to come to terms that my fears were really irrational. They wouldn’t open the road if it were unsafe. There had to be a way to make the one lane roads work. I could just drive slowly when I needed to. I could also drive in the middle of the road if no traffic were coming.

So we did it! It was amazing. Some of the most beautiful views of mountains I have ever seen. There were beautiful waterfalls, rock formations and even ghost towns. Had I listened to the fears in my head, I would have missed some amazing beauty and fantastic memories.

Our world seems to be paralyzed by fear today. There are many things to be concerned about, from COVID to global conflicts, to political in-fighting to economic uncertainty, and the list could go on. We need to take these things seriously as they can adversely harm us, but when we crossover to fear, I think we are missing part of the abundant life that we are supposed to live. While we are supposed to fear God (Prov. 1:7, Prov. 9:10, 2 Chron. 19:7), we are commanded throughout scripture to “fear not.” While I haven’t verified it myself, many say that this is the most common command in the Bible. This is not a suggestion: this is a command that is given over and over in scripture. We are not to fear. In fact, I believe that when we fear something, we are actually making what we fear an idol, as it now has more attention and power over us than God does.

Not fearing means we can live in joy and contentment. Not fearing means that we are trusting God. Not fearing means that you can take beautiful drives through the mountains. Enjoy life. Fear not.

6 comments to Fear Not

  • George and Arlene

    Thanks for this very timely and encouraging word! Sure, we are living in times which raise great concerns in our minds and hearts, but we must not live in fear. (2 Tim. 1:7) We must trust God to manifest his peace to us and through us in these days!

    Love, Dad and Mom

  • Brayden Groff

    I think that this is so good and so important to our society today. I worked on a leadership team this summer at a Christian camp and was given an opportunity to give a sermon to all of the staff before the campers arrived. When I was thinking through what I think we all needed to be reminded of, this very thing kept coming up. I remember in my earlier years of serving at camp that I had lost so many opportunities to minister that we’re lost because of nothing else other than my fear. So often in life we can get so distracted from all of the worries and what if’s of life that we lose sight of what God has called us to and has promised to carry us through. Fear is such a part of our society and it has undoubtably found it’s way into our church. Part of this is that I think we have diminished how we view God and made great of many other things. God is far greater than any other and he has the power to overcome and circumstance or situation that we go through.

  • Brennan Berry

    This is such a good reminder of what our fears really are! Like you said Dr. O almost all of our fears are irrational. Especially when we realize that we have God on our side. I know specifically that I have looked at what is going on in our world and country and been fearful of what is to come. But God is in control! God does not need institutions, political leaders, or even us to do His bidding. Our God is in control!

  • Lilly Sturgis

    Thank you for this reminder of the truth of peace that lies in the lack of fear. Unfortunately, it is so much easier said than done. I know for myself, who struggles with an anxiety disorder (so fear is just much more prone to happen), this is a difficult concept to grasp. While I agree that to not fear is a command, I like to also acknowledge the amount of God’s grace towards fear and anxiety. Jesus Himself was so anxious in the garden that he sweated blood. Yet, as fearful humans, God’s grace gives us the ability to not fear in terrible circumstances.

  • Mat Taylor

    The idea of removing fear from your life as a command is something that really resonated with me. I struggle a lot with being fearful and try to control the outcomes of my situations as a result of that. For me, fear plays a big role in surrender. I struggle with trusting the Lord with my problems because I feel like I need to be in control. The beautiful thing in all of that is the grace of God in all of it. In this season of life, he has been drawing me closer and closer than ever before and I can say with joy that I am being freed from the grip of fear on my life!

  • Jaden Johnson

    As a CO native, those mountain passes are no joke! Thank you for the reminder to live fearlessly. I think there is a line between living fearless and living foolishly. We do need to be wise about the decisions we make and think before we act, but I totally agree with your point. I also appreciated your point about fear of things other than God being an idol. Fear shows a lack of trust in God’s provision and protection. We are called to trust God with all of our heart, not part of us. Complete trust in God will lead to a life without fear.