Advent Cries: Overcoming Fear

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

We forget that God is right there, waiting for us to turn to him, no matter how dire our situation.  We forget the reassuring words of his messengers: “Fear not.”
God always seeks to draw close to us — even in the depths of hell.

…it comes down to this: the only way to truly overcome our fear of death is to live life in such a way that its meaning cannot be taken away by death.  It means fighting the impulse to live for ourselves, instead of for others.  It means choosing generosity over greed.  It also means living humbly, rather than seeking influence and power.  Finally, it means being ready to die again and again — to ourselves, and to every self-serving opinion or agenda.
~Johann Christoph Arnold

There is a cacophony of debates about where to place the blame for the current epidemic of senseless mass shootings of innocent people; these arguments are flying around kitchen tables, in barber shops, through countless comments on online blogs and news reports.  We want to place the blame somewhere: the easy access to the weapons used, the lack of access to mental illness treatment, the overparenting, the lack of parenting, the violence of video games and movies, the lack of foundational spiritual faith, the overabundance of fundamentalist spiritual faith.

None of it meets the real problem head on:  evil exists no matter what the weapon used or the mental illness left untreated.   As we learned after the airplanes-as-weapons tragedies of 911, massive expense and legislation barely keeps evil at bay, simply moving its practitioners on to some other means.   No place on this earthly soil is truly secure and no amount of money nor new laws will create that place, as hard as we might want to believe that can happen.

So we must fall back on what we were told long ago: fear not.
Do not be overwhelmed with evil but overcome evil with good.  We have seen it yet again in the case of the heroes in this most recent tragedy: teachers and staff who made themselves the targets, placing themselves in front of those children who depended on them.

The goal of this life is to live for others, to be ready to die, living in a way such that death cannot erase the meaning and significance of a life.
Give up our selfish agendas in order to consider the needs of the greater good.
Cherish life, all lives,  especially those of our precious children — including the unborn — the unwanted, inconvenient, wrong-gendered or genetically impaired.
And we must cherish,  rather than intentionally hastening,  the final months, weeks, days and hours of our completely dependent and disabled terminally ill and elderly.  If we do not protect the lives of the weakest among us, we are turning them over (and we will soon follow) to the darkness.

Our only defense against evil is God’s offense; only He will lead us to the light where everything sad will come untrue.
Only then will there be no more fear — not ever — ever again.