I know a secret. It’s about me. It’s about you. In fact, it isn’t really a secret, because we all know this – we just don’t like to talk about it: we are all afraid.
Yep. That’s it. We are scared and, let’s be real here, we have some good reasons to be scared. After all, hope is often thin and life can be pretty INSANE.
Things change, people change, health problems hit, storms come, and cruelty seems to be the norm at times. No one knows what is coming or what they will have to face.
But I don’t need to list these fears. These are things we all know. Like I said, it isn’t much of a secret.
Here’s what I’m thinking though:
Why Are We All So Afraid?
I’m sure that Google, psychologists, and the news could all offer their opinions on this question. And it could be interesting and enlightening.
But I’m not them. And I think that if they were to answer this question, they’d leave out certain important considerations.
Personally, I’m convinced that the reason fear is so prevalent is described in this verse:
And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth.Doctrine and Covenants 45:26
Here we see that what we are feeling is, in fact, a fulfilled prophecy. “Men’s hearts shall fail them” is a prophecy we see Every. Single. Day.
But notice the end of the verse too. “They shall say that Christ delayeth his coming.” This statement has ZERO hope in it.
Nothing to look forward to. No one actually coming. Just looking at the mess around us and thinking that this is all life is.
Luckily, the people who say these things are wrong.
And hopefully, they’ll be able to find hope again.
I’ll get to the hope part again in a minute, but first I want to talk about another set of verses that I think also explain why we have fear and “commotion” in our lives today.
19 For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish;
20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.
21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.2 Nephi 28:19-22
I mostly included verse 19 for context, but look at what the devil does in the other verses. “He rages in the hearts of the children of men,” “he will pacify,” “he flattereth away… and saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none.”
This is scary stuff. Satan is working in our lives constantly to pull us away from the hope and love and faith that God offers us.
I’ve talked a bit about Satan before – specifically, why he tempts us (see that post here) – but this is another aspect of how he attacks us.
Fear is a powerful tool in Satan’s toolbox. He loves making us think we are worthless, that there is no hope and even if there is that we don’t deserve it, and even that life isn’t worth the risk.
He doesn’t care if it is true or not; he doesn’t care what it does to us, so long as it pulls us down. Satan wants us to be absolutely, crushingly downtrodden.
And he is really good at making that happen.
In my other post about Satan tempting us, I also talk about how God will always overcome Satan, no matter what trick he tries or how evil he gets.
That fact holds true even over fear.
Here’s Something Really Cool
In the Joseph Smith Translation of Luke in the King James Bible (which includes clarifying information revealed to Joseph Smith the Prophet regarding Biblical interpretations), it says this:
24 Now these things he [Jesus] spake unto them, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem. And then his disciples asked him, saying, Master, tell us concerning thy coming?
25 And he answered them, and said, In the generation in which the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity, like the sea and the waves roaring. The earth also shall be troubled, and the waters of the great deep;
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth. For the powers of heaven shall be shaken.JST, Luke 21:24-26
Please note that the italics indicate differences between the original King James translation and the Joseph Smith translation. Also, the bracketed [Jesus] was added by me for clarification.
Jesus Himself prophesied about the fear that would come in the last days, which is actually right now.
But He doesn’t call our time the last days. Instead, these days, right now, are referred to as the time of Christ’s coming. Meaning His Second Coming, when He comes to build the kingdom of God on the earth.
Isn’t that mind-blowing??
All this fear we have, all the things that Satan does to scare us and trip us up – it all means that Christ’s return is nearly upon us.
He is coming.
So seeing the fear and danger around us is a sign – a sign that now is a time to rejoice. It’s a time to exercise faith in Christ and to invite Him into our lives more than we ever have before.
This time of “commotion” can make it hard to find hope – but we need to remember that the sheer fact that we live in this tumultuous time means that there is more reason to have hope now than we’ve ever had in our lives.
How are you looking for hope in Christ? Share your thoughts in the comments and with the people close to you.
After all, if everyone is scared like we are, sharing our hope with those around us is one of the best things we could be doing this week.