“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts our fear.” (1 John 4:18a)
I fear for others more than for myself. I fear for my husband’s safety when he travels. I fear for my children as I send them off to school, picturing the latest lock down drill becoming a necessary reality. I fear for my parents as a hurricane barrels towards Florida. Fear rises also for innocent lives in peril. As Russian bombs fall on Ukraine, I fear for this struggling country’s people. How much more can they withstand? As Kim Jong-Un tests another nuclear warhead, I fear for those who must live with him and near him. As the young women of Iran flood the streets in protest, I fear the Islamic Republic’s response.
Fear is easy to come by these days. 1 John suggests love as the balm. Love has the power to cast out fear, according to the author of this epistle. When I travel, I feel my husband’s love traveling with me as I text him updates: “On the plane.” “Landed in Houston.” “At my hotel.” His love and desire for my safety follows me. Can I trust the same when he travels? Instead of picturing accidents and danger, can I picture him surrounded in love?
Earlier in 1 John 4 we read “God is love.” When we send our love to others, we send them God. When I intentionally pause in the morning before school to look into my kids’ eyes and say, “I love you,” I may still worry, but I will have sent them with all the assurances love and God provide.
Examine: Sit with your fears for others. Breathe. Notice thoughts and feelings that arise.
Imagine: Imagine God’s love above you like the sun. Can you feel its warmth? Visualize God’s love moving through you, consuming and casting out your fear.
Pray: Free me from fear, O God, so I can live with faith.