Are you familiar with the popular television program called “Fear Factor”? The context of the show pits contestants against one another who willingly participate in stunts that invoke fear or disgust in many people. Some past features included eating live cockroaches and laying in a tank with live snakes writhing over them. In the show, they can refuse a challenge at any time if they want to. Now take a moment to think about how many people are exposed to real fear every day, without a choice in the matter.
Consider this scenario. You and your friends or family members are sitting in a theater watching a long-anticipated movie. Suddenly some kind of gas begins to flood the air, immediately followed by what sounds perhaps like fireworks. Momentarily you think it is some added attraction to the show, but then you see the person next to you fall to the floor, covered in blood. People are screaming in fear and panic as they scramble to find the exit, but someone is randomly shooting them down like hunted animals when they try to escape. Although witnesses said, it was a scene "straight out of a horror film”, that very real event happened in Colorado, USA just weeks ago, leaving 12 people dead and injuring many so severely that they continue to fight for their lives.
Imagine yourself in yet another situation: You live in a poor village in Uganda. Several people in the area have contracted a mysterious illness, and within a few days, most of them have died. You are told there is an outbreak of the Ebola virus that presents itself a bit differently than most cases do and you are aware there is little the doctors can do to treat it and that there is no cure. Your young son begins to show some symptoms of the disease, so you nervously take him to the meager clinic nearby, where they quarantine him with people who have tested positive for Ebola. Now all you can do is await the results of the blood test. Even if he doesn't have the Ebola virus, you hope that he has not contracted the disease from those he has been around, knowing that the mortality rate is so high.
These occurrences are not fictional incidents conceived by television or movie writers. The people who lived through (or died from) these extraordinarily fearful incidents had no choice as to whether they wanted to be involved. It comes down to the sad fact that we live in a world where the “fear factor” runs high on a daily basis for many and no one ever quite knows if or when something devastating might happen to them.
Now imagine a completely different scenario: You never have to lock your door when you leave your home because no one will steal from you. You never worry about someone trying to do you or your family any sort of harm. You don’t worry that your child is being bullied by his peers, nor do you live in fear that your country might erupt in war or civil unrest (like Syria is facing now). Does this sound like a fantasy that could never possibly happen? If it does, take some time to research in the Bible to help you prove that all of these things will come to pass.
While we know that things will get worse before they get better, God’s followers can rest in the hope that He and His Son will restore the earth to the peaceful paradise they intended it to be. It is not a fairy tale, it is the truth! Here are a few of many scriptures to keep in mind when the fearful things of this world seem to be almost too much to bear.
• Psalm 37:1-11 Evildoers removed, but those who inherit the earth will delight in the abundance of peace.
• Isaiah 65:17-18, 21-25 New heavens and a new earth: be glad and rejoice!
• Isaiah 2:2-4 No more wars.
• Ezekiel 34:25-28 They’ll dwell safely; unafraid; with showers of blessing!
• Isaiah 9:7 No end to the increase and peace of God’s government.
• Revelation 21:1-5 No more sorrow or death.
• Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”