Fear (and Love)
“A long time ago I found a wounded baby rabbit in my yard. I went to help it and it struggled to get away from me. When I was finally able to get a hold of it I could feel how much it trembled with fear in my hand; yet all I wanted to do was help it. Such is the way fear works on us. We often mistake that which is benevolent in its intent – the love of a friend, family member, caring professional, and God Himself. Fear clouds our judgment. That is why the Bible links fear and love in many of its passages. Fear renders us incapable of really knowing God’s love directly or as it is expressed through and by others. Fear of death and fear of harm are the worst because they cause us to try to control things beyond what we can control. We then actually open ourselves up to things that are harmful to us while striving to do the opposite.” (Sacramental Living Ministries).
“Fear and the lack of love produce hypocrisy. We are smart enough to see what should be done, but we shy away from getting involved for fear of failure and rejection. Our fear enslaves and isolates us…Fear causes great damage to the soul…To be free of fear, our inner and outer efforts in the spiritual life must work together…Those who fear God perceive every event contrary to His will as an affront against the Lord Himself.” (Father Barnabas Powell, Elder Efstratios of Glinsk, Dynamis 10/5/2018, Dynamis 10/8/2019)
“If you are attracted to something through weakness, do not become faint-hearted and confused, but strive to correct this through self-reproach and confession, first to God the Knower of hearts, and later to your spiritual father. Let these passionate attractions teach you, through restraint, carefulness, guarding yourself, and through the fear of God. Entrust yourself to the will of God, and with patience wait for your fate to be resolved.” (St. Ambrose of Optina)
“The Lord Jesus assures us that not even a hair of our head shall perish (Lk 21:18). But note what often happens after an angel comes to quiet our mind and heart. While we may understand the potential of the word he brings from God, agitation and fear may still arise (Jgs 6:22). In the end, God speaks directly to Gideon (Jgs 6:23), but only after the weak man of Manasseh arrives at the firm knowledge that he has received a true messenger from the Lord, not a demon or a fantasy of his own making. If we cry out in our fear and hesitation, we discover that the Lord is not indifferent to our struggles. Indeed, Christ our God “like His brethren . . . Himself has suffered, being tempted” (Heb. 2:17-18). God speaks peace and dispels fear so that we may act. He prepares us to worship Him and to offer ourselves in His service (Jgs 6:24).” (Dynamis 11/8/2019)
“God quiets the fear of His beloved ones. The Lord bypasses the frailty and dread that clings to us, calling us, as His people, to greater works…The fear of God is when you love Him, when you truly love Him with all your heart and you strive never to offend or sadden Him—not only with your deeds, actions, and words, but also with your thoughts. You try to please Him in everything you do or say. That is the fear of God—the fear of doing anything that might sadden or offend our Parent.” (Dynamis 8/7/2019, Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)