If today I asked you what you fear, how would you answer? What are those things in your life that really scare you? I’m not talking about spiders or the dark, I’m talking about fears that you face as a part of who you are. Deep inside, what really scares you? Death, sickness, a ruined career, financial devastation…what is your secret fear?
During civil war battles, General Stonewall Jackson always had the habit of riding his horse right on the lines where the shooting took place. Bullets hit all around him. His aides were frequently trying to get Jackson to move to the back and direct the fighting from there. Yet, General Jackson would never move to the back of the line. He was always right out in front encouraging the troops and giving directions. Finally, one of Jackson’s aides again urged General Jackson to move to the rear and here is Jackson’s response.
Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.1
Maybe General Jackson was on to something. Maybe we fear because we are trying to take control when we should be turning the control of our lives over to God. Perhaps deep down inside we all know that we can’t control much of anything that has real eternal significance. We need God in our lives. We need to acknowledge that it is God who has ultimate control and not us.
I suspect that as we release control of our lives to God, we also hand over our fear. Those fears that nag at us will start to disappear. I am reminded of Philippians chapter 4 that says this:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
Are you looking for relief from your fears and the chance to experience God’s peace? Be like General Stonewall Jackson and turn your fear over to God. Then you can truly focus on the exciting life God has planned for you instead of spending each day of your life in fear and worry.
1 Speaking to Captain John D. Imboden (24 July 1861), as quoted in Stonewall Jackson As Military Commander (2000) by John Selby.