I’m not sure how they ever figured it out; those scientists and really smart people who say that we humans are only born with two ‘factory-installed’ fears: The fear of falling, and the fear of loud noises. Now, I’m not a scientist, and I’m certainly not a really smart person, but I do have to disagree with their findings.
If you think about it, a baby isn’t afraid of falling, until it experiences a fall. A sleeping infant isn’t afraid of a loud noise, until someone slams a door and startles that child. No human being walks around hoping it doesn’t thunder. We don’t live our lives afraid of loud noises until a loud noise happens. Then … we’re afraid.
True, if a small child saw an approaching tiger, it might not sense the danger; that small child might not be afraid, when real fear would be a tremendous motivator for flight or running away from the danger. But when I contemplate fear in my life, it virtually always revolves around not some ‘boom’ or event or circumstance that has occurred in my life, but rather my reaction to that event or circumstance. In other words, I’m not generally afraid of an accident before it happens; I’m afraid of what my life will look like after I’ve had that accident.
That is what I believe is factory-installed in every human being: A fear of not only the unknown but the unknowable. A fear that as life unfolds, the loud noises it makes are sure to come; stumblings and fallings will most certainly occur. And what my life might look like after those noises, and stumblings, and fallings can really frighten me. You might say I’m afraid something is going to happen that will make me … afraid.
No question, really. Bad things, difficult challenges, horrible occurrences happen every day. Jesus acknowledged that, when He said, “In the world, you will have tribulation.” No mystery, there. I don’t have to wonder, really, if the potential for a ‘loud noise’ in my life exists. I have no need to wonder. It has already been established as a foregone conclusion. Living in this world is the equivalent of living in a morally broken pain machine. So … shouldn’t that reality cause me to walk in fear, every day of my life? Afraid of what might happen? Afraid of what is inevitably going to happen?
I think so, unless … unless I finish reading and believe all of what Jesus said in John 16: “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.” No question, today. This world is reeling; the entire world is in a quandary, and fear has captured the lives of millions. A falling economy; an overwhelmed health system. Fear of the world falling apart. The deafening roar of a virus causes millions to cower in their homes, deathly afraid of … death.
And in the midst of the storm, He stands victoriously pronouncing, “Yes, I know. In the midst of this world, you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.”
Jeremiah said it. I believe it. Listen:“ … blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
Trust is an antidote to fear. Jeremiah doesn’t say heat won’t come; he says the one who trusts God has a remedy to combat the fear the intense heat can produce. He doesn’t say there won’t be a year of drought. He says the one whose confidence is in the God of all, and the Jesus who has overcome the world will overcome the ‘natural’ fear of life’s loud noises. Those who trust in Him … overcome the fear of ‘falling.’