Ed Welch suggests that we live with so much fear that we may ignore how omnipresent fear actually is throughout our life. Books, media and friends don’t invoke our fear but express the fears we already have. Fear is universal, whether it is the fear of the bogeyman in the closet or the fear of rejection when we get older. Fear is universal.
The most prominent command in Scripture? Do not worry. We should expect that the Bible would have something to say about worry.
Is this command not to fear a holy version of, “Stop it!” No, Welch says it is a pastoral encouragement and comfort and God reserves his most precious and penetrating word to our universal struggle. When you see Jesus repeatedly saying, Do not be afraid (Luke 12) don’t hear it as a nagging or threatening command but a soft and parental reminder of the truth. God is pleased to repeat himself. He, like us, takes deep joy in being trusted.
Is fear sinful? Welch says, “maybe” but that we should rather focus the question on to whom will we turn when we are afraid. We are going to be afraid. That is a fact. But, focus rather on the relationship with God. God has constructed a world based on trust and relationship.
Fear is a relational matter. Many of the treatments ignore this fact and focus solely on the cognitive side. What if we think more relationally about the healthy response to anxiety? Of course, this means the focus is on our relationship with the Sovereign God.