Fearless Faith

Peladophobia: fear of baldness and bald people.

Chaetophobia: fear of hairy people.

Levophobia: fear of objects on the left side of the body.

Calyprophobia: fear of obscure meanings.

Porphyrophobia: fear of the color purple.

Graphophobia: fear of writing in public.

Phobophobia: fear of being afraid.

So what’s your phobia? According to a report I once read, our greatest fear is speaking in public. Our second biggest fear? Death. This strikes me as odd. I think about this when I’m preaching at a funeral; it seems peculiar that most people would rather be resting in the casket than standing with me behind the pulpit!

Sadly, many of us allow fear to paralyze our lives. I once suffered from a severe case of Kirbackophobia—fear of Mrs. Kirback. Other students agreed: Mrs. Kirback was a pitbull. Just thinking about her made my fingernails sweat. I was so worried about taking her class the following year I crammed all summer in preparation. I stuck to Wilson's Illustrated World History Book like bubble gum to Reeboks.

The first day in class I parked myself in prime real estate—centered in the front row. Mrs. Kirback waddled into the classroom. I feverishly captured her every word in my notebook.

“Good morning, class.”

Good morning, class, I wrote.

“Just a few announcements before we begin”—her words duly noted. “First, I’ve decided to change textbooks.”

“What?” I gasped out loud. “You can’t do that!”

“I beg your pardon,” she puffed.

“I mean, um, some of us studied, um,... never mind.”

As it turned out, it didn't matter. Mrs. Kirback was quite pleasant. My months of worry proved senseless. I did, however, learn one valuable lesson from her: Wait until the night before to study—in case the teacher changes the textbook!

It was never God’s design for us to worry. This is helpful to remember as you make daily decisions and navigate through the potholes of life. God’s desire is that you approach life with a heart of faith, rather than fear. He wants us to live in peace, not panic.

Harry Emerson Fosdick once said, “Fear imprisons, faith liberates; fear paralyzes, faith empowers; fear disheartens, faith encourages; fear sickens, faith heals; fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable—and, most of all, fear puts hopelessness at the heart of life, while faith rejoices in its God.”[1]

Isaiah 41:10 puts it this way (my translation, you understand): “So do not fear flunking chemistry or leading a university, for I am with you; do not be dismayed about the bully that humiliates you in P.E. or the antagonist that opposes you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you when life slaps you around. I will help you when you face a tough decision. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

[1] As quoted at http://www.achristiancounselor.com/fear.html.

Featured in: January 2007


Karl Haffner

Walla Walla University Church senior pastor, 1997–2007

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