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The Origin and Elimination of our Fear

The Origin and Elimination of our Fear

By Dr. Bruce Atkinson
Special to Virtueonline
April 7, 2020

Mycroft Holmes speaking: "Like you, Sherlock, I am a master of observation and deduction, and I have every reason to wish that my gifts were entirely adequate to an understanding of the world in which we find ourselves. There is nothing that men like us hate and fear more than the inexplicable. I do not hold with fools who say that there are things that man was not meant to know, but I am forced to admit that there are things that men are not yet in a position to know. We have hardly begun to come to terms with the ordinary afflictions of the flesh that we call diseases, let alone those which are extraordinary. If there are such things as curses--and you will doubtless agree with me that it would be infinitely preferable if there were not--then we are impotent, as yet, to counter them."

(Written by Brian Stableford from his Sherlock/Mycroft Holmes pastiche story entitled "Art in the Blood", 2003).

The trained scientist in me totally understands and can identify with these words. I want to know the answers to all the hardest questions. I seek, and increasingly, I find. It gives me a sense of security, even a false sense of control. But then of course it all breaks down when a mysterious killing horror (like the COVID-19) breaks into my reality.

But I am not just a man of science and intellect, I am a man of Christian faith.

If there were no God, then we would be truly powerless over all kinds of evil. Fortunately, we have an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, wise, and loving God--who hears our prayers and chooses to respond. It was Jesus who healed leprosy and a man born blind, and He brought back people from the dead. It was Luke, that dear and glorious physician, that journalist who wrote the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, who reported on the other disciples--through whom God worked many miracles. It was the Christian community who started the hospital movement, and along with Jews, have been at the forefront of medical science for the past two millennia.

We may have an enemy, but we do not have to face him alone in this dangerous universe. As the Apostle Paul rhetorically asked... and answered: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ... 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (Romans 8:35, 37).

Through Christ, we are "more than conquerors," whether or not it seems so at the time and whether or not we feel it.

The fear of death is Satan's second most powerful weapon against us (the first is deception). "Since the children have flesh and blood, [Jesus] too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil--and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." (Hebrews 2:14-15)

Born-again children of God have nothing to fear... death is only a door to a larger life. We are to be "anxious for nothing" (Phil 4:6). "But [God's grace] has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (2 Timothy 1:10)

"When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.' 'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?'" (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)

Dr. Bruce Atkinson is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and an M.A. in theology. He also has an M.S. in research psychology from Illinois State U. and a B.A. from Beloit College. He is a member of the Anglican Church in North America and is Moderator at VirtueOnline.

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