One of the most frequently repeated commands in the scriptures is, "Fear not."
In the world, anxiety, which is a kind of fear, drives much of what we do. We worry because we fear. Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount to "seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness" as opposed to worrying about money, clothing, or food. Even the fear of God is a fear that leads to reverence and ultimate tranquility of the soul.
Don't get me wrong, everyone should be afraid of getting on God's "bad side," but for those who are in Christ, they are forever on his good side, as long as they persevere in faith. And as long as we are on God's good side, the fear of God becomes a foundation for peace instead of anxiety.
Lately I've struggled with a lot of fear: fear of retribution for sins, fear of financial and professional failure, fear of debt and poverty, and fear of loneliness. The one good fear I've had has been the fear of losing my grip on the love of Jesus Christ, which is the only thing that's kept me sane. In the midst of all my anxieties, I've experienced peace when I've meditated on the love of God for me. Over the last few weeks, and through consistent fellowship with him, I've begun to see many of my fears begin to ebb away. The reason is that the flip side of fear is distrust, and as I've experienced the truth of who God is, I've begun to trust him more consistently, thereby dispelling fear more consistently.
The world fears everything I've feared and more. People will sin in part to maintain their illusion of control, their belief in autonomy and immortality. In fact, the fear of death is king over all our anxieties; it touches all hearts, though most avoid thinking about death until it's come upon them. The fear of death encompasses within itself the fear of financial, relational, psychological, and biological loss. Everything fails at death.
As Christians, we see that our God has conquered death, the humans' greatest fear, but our hearts hardly believe it. We are persecuted and mistreated; subject to the death of our children and other loved ones; suffering diseases and disasters; struggling with our sins; despairing in the face of unfulfilled dreams, and understandably so. But as we grow in our fellowship with the One who is our only hope, it's possible to gain more confidence in the face of all these horrors and begin to trust.
It's easy to read how "nothing can separate us from the love of Christ," but until we begin to seek out this love, ask for it, meditate on it, experience it in the midst of suffering, and believe it in our hearts, we will still be subject to fear. He doesn't promise us freedom from evil and suffering; in some ways, in fact, he guarantees that they will happen. What he does promise, however, is that despite the evil that happens in our lives, he will never leave us or forsake us.
"I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33