2020. Day 2 out of 365. Gulp. It’s been said that the phrase “Do Not be Afraid” appears 365 time in the Bible–once for each day of the year. Whether or not that’s accurate, the phrase does appear throughout the Bible. Could God be trying to tell us something?
Ever since Einstein’s day scientists have been trying to find a Unified Field, a framework that unifies all fundamental forces (gravity, electromagnetism, etc.). A few years back, the movie Interstellar dared to suggest (along with nearly every songwriter who ever lived) that love is the framework, the Unified Field.
Could love literally “make the world go ‘round?” And what’s the connection between love and the Bible’s insistence that we not be afraid? According to I John 4:18, “Perfect love casts out fear.” In other words, fear, not hatred, is the opposite of love.
Yet when people have visions of God they always seem to fall on the ground in fear (Revelation 1:17). Apostles, disciples, prophets–whenever anyone enters the presence of God, they act like lepers: “Get away from me, I’m unclean!” (Isaiah 6:6; Luke 5:8)
Because we think we’re OK until we see what OK really looks like. Then we suddenly understand that we’re not even close. And the closer we get to God, the more we understand just how broken our world is. And how broken we are. We’re selfish, vindictive, vain… You know what I’m talking about.
So the solution is to avoid God, right? Only if you want to live a lie. No, the solution is to dive into the black hole, the terrifying realization that the world is broken, and that we suck (my word, don’t look for it in the Bible) even more than the black hole does. That’s where God waits for us. But guess what? He isn’t the problem, he’s the solution. Because God doesn’t cause our fears, we do. But “perfect love casts out fear,” remember?
And God has an exclusive franchise on perfect love.
When we humble ourselves and admit we suck, his response is, “Yeah, I know, but you know what? I love you, and my love is the Unified Field that holds the whole universe together, so I’m pretty sure it can help you stop sucking. Now get over here and stop being afraid, ya knucklehead.” (James 4:10 and Micah 7:18-19 – very loosely paraphrased).