Fear: The Powerless Emotion That Controls Us

Fearful ManOur world has a fascination with fear. Horror movies are becoming increasingly popular, especially among younger populations. Many people (myself included) like to hide in the shadows at home and startle unsuspecting family members. Many governments around the world use fear to control their countries. On a more somber note, predators often use fear to keep their victims from trying to escape or contact a rescuer.

Today we have a virus whose power reaches beyond the immune system of hundreds of thousands of people; its power now reaches into the souls of billions who have yet to experience the illness.

But where did this power come from?

Us. You and me.

We gave Covid-19 the power that it wields.

If you think about it, fear has no power. Fear is a self-induced emotion that each individual crafts for himself, thus resulting in a variety of fears from person to person.

Some people are scared of spiders, but they aren’t born that way. They form a set of conclusions about spiders and then react based on those conclusions. Other people come to different conclusions and decide that spiders are not frightening. Some people eat spiders.

Some people are scared of the dark, but no one is born that way. They form a set of conclusions about darkness and then react based on those conclusions. Some people are scared of hurricanes. Some people are scared of flying in airplanes. Some people are scared of other people. The list goes on.

Ironically enough, although fear itself has no power, when we choose to fear something, we voluntarily give up some of our own power and transfer it to someone or something else.

This is what has happened in our world today with Covid-19. Fear of the unknown has caused us to voluntarily give up our power and transfer it to a virus that has only been alive for a few months.

But a desire to have that power back has resulted in panic- panic buying at Wal-Mart and panic selling on Wall Street.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 is more powerful than most people realized, and its power has only been strengthened by the power that everyone has voluntarily transferred to the virus. We have made the novel Coronavirus the force that it is today.

Does this mean that we were wrong to shut down businesses, cancel meetings, and refrain from traveling?

No. Those actions are called wisdom.

But those things should not be done out of fear or panic; those things should be done because we know that we have the ability to control the spread of the virus. Those things should be done because we know that our world has survived the entrance of many other viruses and diseases in years gone by.

Stockpiling toilet paper and food and other essentials, fighting with others over who gets to buy something, and sitting at home worrying about where our next paycheck will come from? That’s fear.

“But if we don’t do these things, we might not survive!”

Doubtful. Our world has survived world wars and pandemics and malicious governments and natural catastrophes. We will survive Covid-19 too.

Nevertheless, for me to stop there would be callous. The issue is much bigger than that, and a response that shallow will not help or encourage anyone.

That being said, stay tuned for my next post…

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ONE: Friday Night Concert in Ghana

Making Melody in Ghana Team“We are fast approaching the singing from our students.”

I turned to Olivia who was directing the concert with me and said, “I don’t think ‘fast approaching’ is the best way to describe it.” We both laughed as we looked at the time on our phones. The concert had been scheduled for 7pm, and it was already almost 9pm, yet the choir had not yet sung a single song.

Such is life in Ghana 🙂

The evening began with another torrential downpour, thus making it difficult for people to come to the concert. So we all gathered together at 6:45pm to pray that God would give safety to everyone coming to watch us. We finally started the service when it was almost 8pm, and then we spent the next hour giving announcements, talking about the week, and greeting almost everyone on an individual basis.

Olivia and I were in no rush to get started, but we kept checking the time and laughing as we realized how late it was getting. I only wish that Americans were so laid back and patient!

Shortly after 9:00, our choir walked into the building via the back door, the lyrics of “Holy, Holy, Holy,” emanating from their lips. They split up into two lines, encompassing the crowd with their voices before joining back together at the front of the room, lifting their voices to God in 4-part harmony.

Making Melody in Ghana ConcertOur theme for the program was “ONE,” and we started by singing about our one God. Next, we sang “In Christ Alone” as we focused on the one hope we have in Christ.

Other songs included “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree” (one sustainer), “Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone” (one salvation), and “Many Languages, One Word” (one mission). We closed the concert with “Blest Be the Tie that Binds” as we reflected on the one family of God that all believers are a part of.

It was such a joy to listen and see the results of a full week of intense training, and it was even more exciting to know that the campers would go home to their churches and impact them.

At the end of the concert, Olivia and I had the privilege of playing one final song on piano and violin, a medley of the “Story of Jesus” starting from his birth to his future rule over the world.

Despite our different backgrounds, our different cultures, our different appearances, and our varying knowledge of music, we all came together for one full week of worship, training, sharing, and ministry as one people of God speaking one beautiful, universal language- music. It was a taste of heaven for sure!

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9-10)