In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Warren Buffett said, “In my adult lifetime I don’t think I’ve ever seen people as fearful, economically, as they are now.”
I feel it. The fear, I mean. Anxiety over housing prices and church budgets, things that hit me where I am. It’s understandable that people are afraid. It’s natural, because fear generally comes from two things: lack of control and possibility of harm. So, when people can’t control something which could harm them, the natural response: fear or even terror.
That’s why God tells us, often, Fear not. Dozens and dozens and dozens of times. It is, I think, the most frequent command in Scripture. Why? Because it is a natural response to a world that can very much harm us and that is very much out of our control.
And, let’s be clear: the economy didn’t create a crisis. There has always been a crisis, the crisis of living in a world that is dangerous and wild. The current state of the global economy only peels back the veneer of safety; it shows us what has been and will be there until Jesus comes back. It shows us that we really do have a lot to be afraid of.
Except for one thing. God. His children are to fear him, only. Because he can control and does control all things, included credit crises, market plunges, and the settling of a leaf onto the grass in my front yard. All of it. He is also the one who is dangerous, because he has the power of life and death. He can kill us or keep us alive, here and forever. So we fear him, and nothing else. That’s why he tells us “Fear not”.
We must fear him only. That means we do not fear the credit crisis, or the housing market, or whether or not the bailout will work. This is our hour. People are afraid–they are terrified. And they should be. But not us. And they don’t have to be. Let us show them, then. We fear the Lord, and not the economy. Let us show them that we are not afraid.