by Douglas Duncan
November 2, 2020
Is it necessarily always a matter of ‘Faith versus Fear’? I don’t think so. I still remember as a young boy the first time I stood on the end of the high diving board at my neighborhood swimming pool. After staring at the water below for several moments, I turned and made the kids behind me climb back down the ladder so I could go search for more courage. Of course, I was afraid as I stood way up there, but at the same time, I knew I had enough faith in myself to ultimately take that first plunge.
I would venture that the same thing will be true when I go through that ‘Final Door’ in life. It’s ‘Fear of the unknown, and all the faith in the world, won’t stop the ‘head rush’ of that final breath, any more than the rush of dropping off the top of the roller coaster. It’s simply because you’re leaving the security of the ‘Known’ goodbye.
The reality is that ‘Faith and Fear’ are often just brother and sister. You can have loads of faith in yourself, others, and God. Still, if you’re never afraid, even when danger is present, there’s the possibility of an abnormality requiring professional help.
All mentally healthy people have what is termed ‘The Fight or Flight’ instinct, which God Himself put there for us. The longer you live and the wiser you become, the more you come to lean on that very attribute for sound guidance.
Let’s say you’re on safari for your next vacation, and one afternoon a ferocious lion is charging straight at you. Your friend who saw it coming off in the distance is already high up in the tree, holding a vine for you. Are you going grab hold of it and be pulled to safety, or are you going to stand there and say, “OH, nice kitty. I’ll bet it’s one of Jesus’s lions. You know, the one that’s always lying next to that lamb.” Even if you’re a Christian… should you choose the latter, you just became lunch.
Jesus had faith and fear simultaneously. Despite His perfect faith, He had grown quite accustomed to the sensory experiences of physical life. So you are most mistaken if you don’t think He was also a very frightened man the night before His crucifixion. The fact is, He was sweating blood from the forehead He was so scared. That’s called hematidrosis, which occurs in battle when suffering extreme stress levels and acknowledging imminent death at hand.
Here’s what Jesus said on that fateful night, as He fervently prayed while waiting for the inevitable.
“Father, if you are willing, please don’t make me drink from this cup (fear). But do what you want (faith), not what I want.”
And that’s the perfect example of ‘Fear and Faith’ at the same time, from the Perfect man who ever experienced it.