“It is not the power of darkness that is to be feared, it is fear that gives power to the darkness,” writes the space opera novelist, Matthew Stover. “Pain has the power to break you, or it is the power that makes you unbreakable. What it is depends on who you are.” When you walk with the Lord, the one whom Paul dubs the God of Patience (hupomone in Greek, which can be translated “The God of Triumphant Fortitude”), you can take situations that are painful and convert them into “pain-fuel.” You need fear no via dolorosa. Never be scared. The God who calls you to it will bring you through it.
The most frequently repeated command in Scripture, more than 200 times, is “Do not be afraid.”
Spooked because your star sign bodes ill? Amos said, “Seek Him who made the seven stars and Orion!” You may indeed be a Pisces. But why fear your star sign when you can talk to the Creator of the stars themselves?! God answers “knee-mail.” St. John said, “We know He hears us.” God is listening. He’s tapped into souls like the FBI is tapped into phones. Why wish upon a falling star when you can talk to the One who created it?! Why afraid, Imago Dei? The God of the universe is your Daddy, and His perfect love casts out all fear!
Paul wrote, “We have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). Fear and Father are mutually exclusive. Abba – the Aramaic word for “daddy” – was the word Jesus used in His native tongue whenever addressing God (save on the cross when He cried Eloi Eloi, “My God, My God”). Jesus had the chutzpah to call God, Daddy. Iconoclastic! No one in that culture thought of Yahweh as Daddy. Hebrews like Manoah believed that if you saw God, you were going to die, and Greeks believed in Zeus who pinned Prometheus to a rock in the middle of the Adriatic Sea. He then sent a vulture to eat out his liver, in which the liver regrew, so the vulture could eat it out the next day ad infinitum…just because fellow feeling for his fellow, featherless bipeds compelled Prometheus to steal fire from heaven and warm humankind!
If Zeus were your god, that would stink. When Paul called God, Daddy, he would’ve seemed loco en la cabesa, smog in the noggin, cuckoo for his Cocopuffs, batty. This was highly subversive and countercultural. Undaunted by the theology of first century Judaism and Greco-Roman society, Paul argued that if the God who made the universe is your Father, you can’t be afraid anymore! God is both BIG enough to create black holes and LOVING enough to call Himself your Papa. You can’t have the spirit of fear when you have the spirit of Father.
Fear and Father are antonyms.
Here’s why: What if the God who made the cosmos is also your Daddy? Think of what He can do! David said the Lord made the stars with His fingers, like finger paint or playing with finger puppets, creating stars is just child’s play for God. The Bible says He breathes stars into existence. When’s the last time you did that?
Your Daddy made more than a hundred billion stars in your galaxy while billions of other galaxies are known. One particular type of celestial body your Papa invented is a neutron star, which can weigh more than 200 billion tons (more than all the continents on the earth put together) and fit inside a teaspoon! He made our universe so HUGE that it takes 12.3 billion years for the speed of light to travel from the furthest galaxy, thus far discovered to reach our pale, blue dot. It takes 100,000 years to ride a bolt of light from one end of the Milky Way Galaxy to the other. And the Milky Way is just a speck in the scope of the cosmos!
Your Father made albatross birds that fly 25 MPH while sleeping. He made the spine-tailed swift that can fly 220 MPH. He made the hummingbird that can fly in reverse – not to mention flamingos that can only eat when their head is upside down. He made Gentoo penguins, which can swim 22 MPH; little blue penguins, which are a dinky (and adorable) 16 inches tall; and emperor penguins, which are four feet tall, really fat, and slide on their tuxedoed bellies in Antarctica! Your Papa invented the electron that can make 47,000 laps around a four-mile tunnel in one second! Electrons can even quantum leap from point A to point B without traveling the distance in between (hem hem, which means they teleport). He made subatomic particles that can be in two places AT THE SAME TIME! Some subatomic particles pop into existence and quantum physicists don’t even know where they came from. (When Genesis says God created, that Hebrew verb for “to create” is only used of divine, never human activity.
Only the heavenly Father can create something out of nothing.
Abba dreamed up colors. He is positively brilliant when He made toasters, which according to everything scientists know about heat and corresponding color, should glow blue but instead glow orange. Why? No one knows. The first thing God ever said is, “Let there be light,” so that when you’re on a sidewalk on a sunny day, looking at a dress in a storefront window, some photons from the sun pass through the glass to light up the dress and other photons bounce off the glass to superimpose your reflection back to you (and scientists cannot predict which photons will teleport and which will rebound). Your Father merely has to say, “Let there be light,” and Bob’s your uncle! What if the God who made muons and waterfalls and kangaroos, who carry their babies in marsupial pouches, and rainbows and In N’ Out, which tastes like hope feels…what if the God who made everything says, “Whose your Daddy? I’m your Daddy!”
Then what do you have to be afraid of?