“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27)
Professional skier, Lindsey Vonn, was recently asked, “Why do you think you’re one of the best female skiers in the world?” Rather than a platitude about work ethic, she simply said, “I have no fear on the mountain.”
It’s our natural impulse be afraid in perilous situations, and in fact some fear can be healthy and keep us focused – like not texting and driving because you fear a fatal crash. But sometimes too much fear can be paralyzing or lead to bad decisions.
When Vonn gets on the skis and starts atop the mountain, she is surely taking a risk. One wrong move and she could be seriously hurt or worse. But the fullest enjoyment of her sport depends upon her not caving into fear. She skis boldly, with single-mindedness, and she wins – a lot.
In 1 John 4.18, we are told “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. ” We follow the highest example of perfect love in Jesus Christ. But it would be mistaken to say that Jesus had no fear – he sweat drops of blood on the night he was betrayed and prayed that the Father would take his sacrifice away. But Jesus did not let fear drive him away from loving perfectly. It did not paralyze him or keep him from doing the right thing.
We are fed a steady diet of bad news on the television and Internet. Fear mongering sells subscriptions and gets clicks. Signs of hope and love are almost always below the fold because the media marketers know we’ll more readily click on the bad stuff. It’s no wonder we are often on edge in our society.
The great gift of life in Christ is that we really don’t have anything to fear. St. Paul says “to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Not even death. And if we direct our lives toward perfect love, we will have little time or cause to be afraid.
Chuck Frost is Pastoral Associate at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Roanoke, Virginia. Chuck was received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church in 2000 after spending 10 years as a United Methodist Pastor in Mississippi and Alaska. After becoming Catholic, Chuck served for 9 years as Diocesan Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Savannah, GA. Chuck has a MDiv from Duke Divinity School.