But this episode–this very first scene of the plane wreck, has fascinating implications for the concept of fear. Of Gut-Wrenching fear.
Everyone reacts to fear differently. Each character is reacting to the terror of the crash differently but within the realm of their personality. There is anger, there is grief. There is a need to react to improve the situation, there is debilitating paralysis in the face of the unknown.
“Fear Not” the Bible says–33 times. Fear Not. Fear. Not. A command? A phrase of comfort? I’m not sure.
Do you remember the last time you were terrified. I’m not talking a little scared of a storm. Or afraid of a needle. I’m talking terror, the kind that wakes you up at night. The kind of fear that creates sweats, chills, foreboding and panic?
C. S. Lewis wrote “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” I think the reason no one ever told Lewis that, or anyone else that until Lewis was able to vocalize it, is because it’s a difficult task to pigeonhole fear. And it’s a difficult task to pigeonhole grief.
But grief does feel like fear. Grief is fear to some degree. Grief is fear. Because grief is loss-loss of the known, loss of the unknown. Grief is that weight on the soul that can’t be shaken, and that within itself is fear–the unshake-ableness of grief.
Did Job fear as the evil one shifted him like sand through famine and death, through illness and disaster? Did he fear, was he terrified in the face of very real grief, gut-wrenching grief absent of answers?
In the very first episode of “Lost”, Jack, one of the main characters, describes his theory on dealing with fear. He allows himself 5 seconds and 5 seconds only to experience terror, but then when that 5 seconds is up, he acts. Interesting practice.
This passage in Isaiah 41 speaks to the terror, the fear:
8 But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
9 you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Be not dismayed. Be not dismayed. I am often dismayed. I am dismayed tonight–it washes over my mind and my soul until there is not rational thought, until there is panic. Real panic that causes my heart to throb in my ears, that causes my hands to shake and my mind to fight sleep.
But then the passage says “I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you.” There is nothing in those 3 statements that I can do for myself. I can not strengthen my self. Self-help philosophies make money but fail. And I can not, I can not uphold myself.
But God can. God can. And I can’t. I can’t.
Preaching to myself. Preaching to myself tonight.