faith, fear, hmm.

illustration of house floating with mountains and lake

When I hear people spout “Faith over fear,” or deny that fear is ever an appropriate response, I’m curious and puzzled about what that actually means to them.

As regards to the prevalence of the covid pandemic, “Faith over fear” to me sounds like a buzzword, a catchphrase. Are people denying the statistics of what we are facing, or not believing what medical scientists tell us about how covid transmits? Are they calling people who are being cautious and staying home, “chicken” or “scaredy-cat”? [Shrug] I’m OK with being labeled as a chicken, I guess.

From my point of view, God invented science and all the elements and principles of what holds everything together. He’s truly in control, and he is sovereign. “Science” doesn’t overrule any part of God’s will or his wisdom. I’m not denying God’s ability to act and protect any given person in any situation. That’s not what I’m saying.

But in my opinion, “faith over fear” doesn’t mean that someone is demonstrating greater faith if they purposely do something that goes against wisdom. If you walk out into highway traffic, I don’t think that means that you are showing faith. Even if you say, “God will protect me from the speeding cars,” it doesn’t mean that you are more faithful than me or someone else who stays on the sidewalk.

I think this (farfetched) example would mean that you were acting foolishly. Although God may choose to stop the traffic from hitting you, it doesn’t mean that you are a Godly man or a wise and faithful man for what you purposely chose to do.

The devil tried to tempt Jesus to throw himself from the highest point of the temple — he tried to misuse a verse from Psalm 91:12. “He orders his angels to protect you. And they will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone.” — But that scripture doesn’t mean we should purposely do things to “show off” or put God to the test. Jesus pointed this out with his response: “Do not test the Lord your God.” *

Musing: Faith isn’t bounded by a dictionary definition, either.

Ultimately I believe our health & safety is in God’s hands. Testing him with our own willful actions, isn’t honoring to him. Jesus didn’t have to prove anything, and he knew that “jumping off the temple” was not what that scripture meant. He did not have less faith (and did not alter the truth of his identity) just because he did not choose to “test” that scripture or “dare” angels to catch him.

* Matthew 4: 6-7.

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