The Death of Fear

Imagine the original Eden. Animals roam freely and peacefully. A mist goes up from the earth, watering the green land and blooming flowers. There’s a chorus of chirping birds, and fish dance in the glistening water. Trees offer their fruits for savoring, while flowers delight with sweet fragrances and vibrant colors. Each day the sky’s aglow with handcrafted sunsets and shimmering constellations.

With a whisper, the scene changes. Dissonance builds. Fruit from the forbidden tree is rebelliously ingested and, as promised, the eyes of the first man and woman open. Their bones quake with foreign feelings of shame, humiliation, and overpowering panic. “We disobeyed the God who made us. We’re going to die!”

Adam and Eve heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden and they hid themselves from His presence among the trees. God called to the man and said, “Where are you?” And Adam said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (Gen. 3:8–10)
And just like that, FEAR entered the world.

What did this fear cause Adam and Eve to do? Hide. And don’t we still?
We hide in our fig leaves of false security, our caves of caution, and our self-made dams of disbelief, terrified someone might see us for who we really are: dirty, insecure, and weak. It should come as no surprise that our default setting is fear.

Like Adam and Eve, we hide. We bury pain and protect ourselves from feeling it ever again. We cover the blemishes, gloss over the less-than-desirable parts, avoid the shame and guard our hearts. And no matter what we attempt on our own we cannot escape our fears. We need rescue.

At the core, beyond the rising blood pressure, increased heart rate, and heightened awareness, fear tells us we need a Savior. Whether it’s a fear of failure, rejection, death, or the dark, fear sends a signal to our souls that we cannot be the center of the universe. There is more to life than us. Fear whispers of our brokenness and cries for security, for refuge, for something (Someone) bigger to protect us.

Fear prompts us to run, to hide from God and from other people our vulnerability and our weakness. But for those who are in Christ, we are just that—in Christ. We don’t have to hide because we’ve been hidden in the wounds of the suffering Savior.

God cursed the serpent, the man, and the woman, but he wasn’t finished with them yet: “And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21). Our merciful Creator gave them a new wardrobe. Just as he graciously made Adam and Eve garments of animal skin, God clothes all who repent and believe in Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice.

This is how we fight the soldiers of fear—we fight them with Jesus. We fight them with the gospel. We have a Savior who pursues us, who made an excruciating sacrifice, and who covers us in robes of righteousness, presenting us faultless before his throne.

We no longer need to hide from God; we can run to Him. He’s our shield, our defense, and our fortress of protection (Ps. 18:2). He’s the One who guards our hearts (Phil. 4:6–7). We don’t have to hide ourselves with garments of self-protection, because he hides us in the shadow of his wings (Ps. 17:8).

The gospel is the answer to insecurities, paralyzing anxiety, and life-sucking fear. The blessed reality of Christ in us tenderly blasts the brick and mortar around our hearts like dynamite. He loves us too much to let any walls remain that keep us from believing we’re safe apart from his protection.

We can let go of fear and joyfully accept the love of our God. He wants all of us; he died to purchase every speck of our dirt in order to display his heart-cleansing, wardrobe-giving, fear-destroying grace.

(Sophie McDonald’s article on Fear modified by Karen Schagunn)