Fear is a normal part of life. But, it was not always so. Adam and Eve did not know fear when God created them. And, unfortunately so (as will become clear later). They were overcome by fear moment they bit into the forbidden apple. They sinned and fear came into their life. Ever since fear and sin have gone hand-in-hand.
Fear begins early in life. Sometimes as early as when the child is in the womb.
The child in the womb often carries the scar of the mother's fears. A child born with fear etched in the mind tends to react very differently than a child who is born free from fear. With this understanding or otherwise expectant mothers are always treated with tender loving care – so that the child in the womb will be blessed with a sense of comfort and assurance from all concerns.
This is more the ideal than the reality for families living in cities with the constant pressure of financial obligations and hundred-and-one-things to do. Often, expectant mothers because of necessity or from career concerns or responsibilities at home "work" late into their pregnancy. This can adversely affect the child, unless the expectant mother is acutely aware of the situation and is able to be of "good cheer and free from fear". This can only happen if the expectant mother and the family as a whole is prayerful, and is living in the joy, peace and happiness that only Jesus can give.
The fear passed on by a "restless" mother often manifests itself in the child in various ways. Getting cranky at the slightest "provocation" is perhaps one tell-tale sign. (Equally true of adults who come from an "adversarial" environment). As in all cases, there are exceptions. In some cases it is a living nightmare for the parents as they do their best to pacify the child. Again, prayer and presence of Jesus in their lives can change everything – for we know that He is a Master of everything.
Now, let's hark back 2001 years.
Mary was "deeply disturbed", not fearful, when the angel of the Lord appeared to her. Mary was born without sin and hence there was no sin in Jesus. Mary was without fear at the birth of Jesus, and later, Mary was without fear at the foot of the cross. It is by Mary that Jesus was born free from fear. It is this sinless nature that gave Jesus the fearlessness to take on Lucifer after fasting for forty days.
When the shepherds and then the kings came to pay homage to Jesus in the manger, Jesus was a picture of peace – a peace that passes all understanding. Joseph and Mary, for all the hardships they had to undergo before Jesus was born, and soon after, when they had to flee to
It is said of Joseph in Mat 1:19 that he was a man who always did what was right. He did not want to disgrace Mary publicly (when he heard that Mary was with child), so he planned to break the engagement privately. But, we know that was not to be. Again, Joseph heeded the angel's words, rather than allow destructive thoughts to enter his head.
Hence, we can summarize that not all fear is bad.
There are the positive and negative forces of fear. We know that it is the positive forces of fear that pumps "adrenalin" to our brain and helps us respond to danger swiftly enough to avoid it. Our eyes clasp shut in nanosecond when it "fears" danger lurking in the form of a particle heading towards it.
It is the positive nature of Mary's fear of the Lord that made her remark, "I am the handmaiden of the Lord". It is this spirit of fear that we need to cultivate and nurture. Fear born of humility when we ponder the "awesomeness" of God almighty. Perhaps, it is important to point out that it is not hard to lose this sense of fear in the "grind" of daily life. Every action of ours stands testimony to whether we truly fear God or it is just an interesting notion.
So, fear in itself is not bad. In fact, the right kind of fear does us a world of good. After all fear is an emotion that is created by God for our survival, and more importantly, for our salvation. Unfortunately for them, Adam and Eve lacked fear of any kind - including God. They sinned, and discovered the negative forces of fear. Mary and Joseph were blessed with the positive forces of fear and the world was blessed with Jesus.
What is the dominating fear in your life - that off the World or of God? Negative Fear or Positive Fear? Whichever sphere we are in, it is good to realize it and plan to invest ourselves with the positive forces of fear that comes from God.
We need to develop the fear of God in our daily life as mentioned earlier – not when we are faced with danger. It may be too late then. Prayer and fasting, as was the practice with Jesus, is a great way to develop the fear of God. When we have achieved this transformation – it will manifest itself in everything that we do – and our children will be blessed likewise – as Jesus was from Mary and Joseph.
May you be blessed with the fear of the Lord!