Have you ever experienced a fear of flying?
One flight in particular stands out to me. All four seats were filled. The pilot, my wife and me, and our luggage were loaded in a small single engine airplane. I think it was a Cessna 170. We were flying at a lower altitude than normal when we encountered a series of air pockets and quickly plunged several feet. I was off my seat by at least several inches, and I pulled my seat belt tighter.
My knuckles turned pale as I squeezed the door handle, holding on tightly. I realized at this juncture that my stomach had found a new place to rest in my body—right near my throat.
The pilot, who had been silent for most of the short 40-minute flight, turned and looked at me with a halfhearted smile. The undulating motion of the aircraft did not seem to bother him, and he continued checking his e-mail on his phone as if nothing was wrong.
Between the air pockets and both fuel gauges reading in the red zone, I was feeling like the little aircraft might not make it. Not too many days before that flight, I had mentioned in a sermon the importance of prayer and trusting in God, and now I was practicing what I preached.
Fear, anxiety—we’ve all experienced this gripping emotion. Fear creeps into your mind through many different doors and windows. Fear of flying. Fear of heights. Fear of groups of people. Fear of disease. Fear of other countries invading where you live. The list goes on.
But, as we see so many fearful things taking place in today’s world, do we need to be afraid?
The kind of fear God commands us to overcome is inner tension that comes and tears us apart emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Some who watch the news constantly have found that they live in a state of fear and worry.
Let’s look at three things that are essential in coping with this type of fear:
1. Realize that fear is not a part of what God wants for us.
We are told directly in many Bible passages to “fear not” or “be not afraid.” In Proverbs 28:1 Proverbs 28:1The wicked flee when no man pursues: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
American King James Version×, we are told that the righteous are characterized by boldness!
We cannot escape fear by taking a dose of drugs or alcohol to send us into a deep stupor or sleep. We cannot defeat our fears by trying to just “get away from it all” by taking a vacation somewhere. Deliverance from fears begins with our mental attitude.
2. Recognize we do not face our problems alone.
No matter how severe our problems are, or become, we are not alone. God does not abandon us, even when our personal safety is threatened.
The book of Hebrews encourages us with God’s promise to keep us in His care: “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, ‘I will never fail you nor forsake you.’ Hence we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6 Hebrews 13:5-6  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.
American King James Version×, RSV).
3. Keep motivated by love, which casts out fear.
The apostle John tells us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18 1 John 4:18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.
American King James Version×).
Contrast the two. Love looks for opportunities to give, and serve others. “What can I do for someone else?”
Fear keeps a wary eye on the possible consequences of getting involved in other’s lives, and asks, “What will he or she want from me in return?” Love thinks no evil. Fear thinks little else. Love believes all things. Fear is always suspicious.
Love is busy doing today’s tasks, and does not worry about tomorrow. Fear, because it constantly frets about tomorrow and what might happen, fails to undertake responsibilities or focus on the task at hand.
The world is going to get much worse. But soon after that, it’s going to be better than it’s ever been. That’s a promise from our Creator!
As you face your fears, think vertically. Face them with confidence that God will help us. He will be with us. He will help us learn to truly “be not afraid.”