Sunday, February 26, 2012

When Fearing the Unknown

If we thought of a time when we feared the unknown, perhaps when we were afraid of the dark, and needed our parents’ assurance, we can understand that, though we are adults, we may always hold some fear of the unknown.

As adults, fear manifests in more complex ways. Like, we fear being exposed in embarrassment, in failing to perform as we previously agreed to, or we may fear living up to our own moral expectations. These things produce fear within us, and quite naturally so.

Fear manifested in these ways portrays us as both human and adult: normal. Of course, when we fear too much we stand to experience anxiety, and at the extreme such anxiety may make us ill. It’s important to come back to one chief concept, time and again.

This is what the Lord says:

“Do not fear, for I am with you...”

~Isaiah 43:5a (NRSV)

When we know God is with us, and that God is always good, and always producing safety in our circumstances, we may make the shift mentally; we may take our thinking from one neural route or zone to another one.

Enjoying Some Old-Fashioned Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is a centuries-old meditative technique that can be employed any time, anywhere. It normally requires a reading or recitation, but it can be done on a train, in a dining room, or even running. Its best application, however, is in still and quiet circumstances, where external stimuli are rendered null.

To help in the particular case of fear for the unknown, a good biblical passage to meditate upon, over and over, is Isaiah 43:1-7. This passage resides within Isaiah’s Book of Comfort. In the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), the heading for the chapter is called Restoration and Protection Promised.

As we read over each word, and each line, taking each tiny morsel, over and over, by reading slowly, silently and/or aloud, this reassuring Word of God filters into the deeper recesses of our conscious and subconscious. It begins attending to our fear of the unknown, reassuring us, and lessening, already, future experiences of panic and anxiety. The more we reflectively read and ponder and even escape into this Word the more our faith is shored up in the awareness of God there, always, with us.


Whenever we fear the unknown, or we feel alone in our faith, we revert to the knowledge that God is there; there always with us—the perfect companion in fear, aloneness, disconsolation and loss.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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