“When fear knocks, let faith answer.” I turned around to glance at the sign once more as my friend and I drove past. “When fear knocks, let faith answer.” The placement of the statement was what first grabbed my attention. This phrase was placed on a marquee sign of a local oil change next to a freeway ramp. I have driven past this sign several times since, and it has ranged anywhere from an advertisement to another similar motivational or inspirational phrase, but for some reason this particular phrase has stuck with me.
The statement sounds nice, but so what? “When fear knocks, let faith answer.” What does it mean for me practically? What does it mean when I’m in the middle of a storm? What do you do when your faith is threatened by doubt and unbelief? If faith is to answer fear, what does it say? And what do you do when your fear isn’t well behaved, when fear doesn’t simply knock on your door but caves in all the walls around you?
Fyodor Dostoyevsky once wrote, “avoid fear, though fear is simply the consequence of every lie.” Fear is a consequence of the lie that points us away from God’s Word and inward at ourselves. Luther, commenting on Genesis three writes, “For in man there was the most admirable confidence in God, and man could not have been afraid even if he had seen the heavens collapse.” Adam and Eve perfectly feared, loved, and trusted in God above all things. They had perfect peace with God. They experienced fear only after they believed and acted on the lie that called into question the Word and promises of God They had doubted that God’s Word was truthful and leaned on their own understanding.
Fear, very often, doesn’t appear to be the consequence of a lie but a reality. As the disciples were tossed around by waters that roared and foamed around them, thoughts of drowning overtook them. Waves smashed and spilled into the sides of the boat. Everything they could see and feel with their senses informed them that it was not going to be a question of if they perished, but when they would perish. As they struggled through the storm, their teacher and friend slept silently on the boat. The waters seemed to not only threaten to drown the disciples, but their faith as well. “Do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38)
Fear didn’t just knock on Thomas’ door, fear walked into his life, sat down, and made itself at home. His fear became his reality. Thomas’ fears not only came to fruition, but the object of his faith and hope had been killed. Thomas’ faith had died and was lying in a tomb. The One in whom Thomas had spent the past years placing his trust and his hope in was gone. The One who loved Thomas unlike anyone he had ever known was now lying in a borrowed tomb. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and not be afraid.” (John 14:27) Jesus had comforted the disciples with these words shortly before He died, but now, how could Thomas not be troubled and afraid?
Jesus is not neglectful or unfamiliar with your fears and suffering. Jesus answered the disciples fears, He commanded the waves and wind to be still. He did not leave Thomas in his unbelief and fear, He personally sought him out to bring him comfort and peace.
Norman Nagel once stated in a sermon, “Sin carries its damage along with it. We may not see the healing of the damage, but the sin can be forgiven, its dominion broken. Sin can no longer destroy us; it can no more destroy us than it can destroy Christ. He has answered for it all. You are free.”
One of the damages sin has brought is fear, but because of the work of Christ we are free. He has answered for our fear. When fear knocks, let the finished work of Christ answer. You are eternally safe in Him. Nothing and no one can touch the love He has for you. When fear and doubt and accusations threaten, listen to Christ who is speaking, shielding, and comforting you with Himself. When fear knocks, Jesus answers, “Peace be with you. I love you. I have finished everything for you and I will hold you fast through everything. I have finished everything and will care for you, O you of little faith.” That little faith I have is only by the grace of God gifted to me.
He will not forget you, He will not leave you. He cannot stop loving and caring deeply for you. The care and love He has for you has been forever inscribed in His nail pierced hands. All of our anxiety, fear, doubt, disbelief, sin, and lies, everything has been cast on Him and finished because He cares for us. His finished and perfect love for us drives out fear. So when fear knocks on your door and swirls around you threatening you, remember the One who has answered for it and who holds you fast.
Kathy graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College with a B.A. in Media Design. She is currently a writing contributor with Christ Hold Fast, Higher Things, and Coffee by Gillespie, as well as a freelance graphic designer. She is the co-author of The Sinner/Saint Lenten Devotional from 1517 Publishing.