I’ve been thinking a little bit about fear recently. I don’t really want to write about Britain’s decision to leave the EU, but I feel like I should at least say something. It’s too big to ignore; too massive to just carry on and pretend it hasn’t happened. I’d rather write something else, some spiritual reflection or humourous observation, (like the fact that my spell-checker lets me write ‘humour’ but wants me to write ‘humorous’). But, as I said, I’ve been thinking about fear recently.
The referendum debate revolved around fear. Fear of economic uncertainty, fear of immigration, fear of eroded sovereignty, fear of the future. Fear seems to be the only tool that our politicians have, and if that’s the case – regardless of the referendum result – we’re in trouble.
There’s no doubt. Fear is a powerful motivator. You can make people do outrageous things, things totally against their character, if you can just make them afraid enough. Yet when I read through the gospels, I can’t help but notice that Jesus never seemed to act out of fear. I never get the impression that fear was a factor in his motivation. He did some pretty crazy stuff and upset some powerful people, but he never seemed to be afraid, and if he was then he never let it control his choices.
There was a time when fear came out to play, and that was in the garden of Gethsemane, where he pleads for a different route. He doesn’t want to die, especially not like this, and he asks God to spare him. And yet…”Not my will, Father, but yours”. Even in his darkest hour, his greatest fear is not death or suffering, but rather the fear of not being obedient.
Imagine living a life where that’s really the only thing that you are truly afraid of.
I find it hard to feel optimistic about the immediate future right now. There’s all kinds of ugliness and uncertainty surfacing in the Island of the Mighty, but I have decided to not be afraid. Whatever the future brings and whatever actions I take, I will try to not let fear be the thing that drives me. Not my will, Father, but yours.