Fear is a Liar
Giving into fear is like heading into a cave. As you continue to focus on the fear, it sucks you deeper and deeper into inexorable darkness. The cave twists and turns on itself. After a time, you begin to lose sight of the light at the entrance. You can no longer see anything – the only sensation is a pulsing, heavy, endless blackness. You become disoriented and lost. You’re completely alone. The only sounds are the echoes of your own negative thoughts. Eventually, you give in to despair, and it feels as if there is no point in going on. You become convinced that this is where you will die: crushed under the heavy weight of that utterly complete darkness.
Fear, however, is a liar. The cave is not reality. Lost in your hopelessness, you’re no longer able to discern that you aren’t standing lost in a cave. In fact, you’re not lost at all. You’re standing rooted to the same spot where the fear initially paralyzed you. The crushing darkness? It’s you – your eyes screwed up against the light, the heels of your palms pressed tightly over them.
Something – some hint of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty tugs gently on your wrists. Very cautiously you lower your hands and blink in the sudden brightness. It hurts – oh how that white light hurts! Temporarily blinded, you stumble and wonder if maybe it would be easier to shut your eyes once more. The darkness was terrible, yes, but there was at least some sick comfort in its familiarity. Slowly, however, your eyes begin to adjust. You begin to see dark shapes, then colors, and finally reality comes into focus once more. You stand breathing in the sweet, warm air of spring – it smells of life.
Giving in to fear is incredibly dangerous. Fear stops us from moving forward. It deadens our ability to hear His voice and see the Light. It is one of Satan’s – the father of lies – greatest weapons. The good news, however, is that Satan, though powerful, is a mere creature. He has no new tricks up his sleeve, no generative power. Our God, by contrast, is Life itself. And it is in Him – not the dark lies of the world or the senseless suffering that haunts our steps - that we live and move and have our very being (Acts 17:28).
The more I study the faith, the more I begin to grasp the sheer enormity of what I do not know. So much of Divine Revelation is a great mystery, the depths of which are so far beyond our human understanding that trying to explain them is akin to trying to teach calculus to a bullfrog. What I do know, however, is that God is good. He is trustworthy. And He loves us.
Moreover, in His great love for us, He allows us, in our own feeble way, to actively participate in the divine mysteries of Christ’s life, death, Resurrection, and Ascension. Being God, He is neither restricted by time nor space. Thus, we are buried spiritually with Christ in baptism and raised to walk with Him in the newness of life. Through His Ascension then, we, too, “have penetrated the heights of Heaven” as Pope Saint Leo the Great once said.
Our reality is that we can begin here on Earth to dwell in spirit with God in Heaven. If we can learn to resist fear and instead embrace reality, we shall find a truly glorious horizon is opened up before us. Instead of becoming paralyzed with fear, which draws in upon itself and causes our world to shrink, we can go forward in confidence to meet whatever lays before us.
When Saint Joan of Arc was preparing to leave Vaucouleurs to begin her mission to save France, she reportedly said, “I do not fear the soldiers, for my road is made open to me; and if the soldiers come, I have God, my Lord, who will know how to clear the route . . . . It was for this that I was born!" Are you lost in fear right now? Take courage, dear brothers and sisters, and do not lose hope. The Lord will clear the route for you. This thing, whatever you are facing, is something you were born to overcome. Feel His gentle tug on your wrists, and open your eyes. He is with you always, until the end of the age. This is the promise of our Father, and our Father always keeps His promises.