When our children were young, we read books to them as they went to bed.
I remember some.
But one that always stuck out in my mind was the book. There’s a Monster Under My Bed.
It wasn’t about monsters.
It was about something much more grown up….fear.
We all have fears of various sorts.
Some fear crowds.
Some fear snakes.
Those who study fear rank various fears. Some are afraid of dying.
Speaking in public terrifies others. When researchers ranked fears, fear of public speaking was worse than the fear of death. All that means is people would rather die than make a speech.
But, we are not alone in our fears.
Julius Caesar conquered the world, yet, he shuddered with every clap of thunder.
Peter the Great, the czar of Russia, stood six feet, five inches tall. Yet, he was afraid of bridges. He crossed them only when there was no other choice.
The 18th-century writer Dr. Samuel Johnson would never enter a room with his left foot first. If he entered wrongly, he could back out and enter the room with his right foot.
As Michael Pritchard has said, “fear is the little darkroom where negatives are developed.”
It was something God had to address with humanity regularly.
In Numbers, fear caused the people to refuse to enter the Promised Land. It resulted in the death of untold thousands in a forty-year interlacing of desert tracks.
In Matthew 13, a storm at night caused the disciples to tremble.
So, when it came time for Joshua to assume the mantel from Moses, I know he had great anxiety because God told him:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
The problem with fear is twofold.
We build up the unknown to mammoth proportions.
And then, we think we have to face it alone.
God says differently. I am with you wherever you go.
So no matter what the fear, we never face it alone. God is there. And he said, “do not be frightened or dismayed.” We don’t have to be courageous, just faithful.