In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a lot of fear in the U.S. right now.
The fear of action and of passivity. The fear of speaking and of being silent. The fear of big and of small. The fear of reality and of delusion. The fear of honesty and of lies. The fear of others and of the self.
Everywhere we turn, there is fear in levels so thick even 2,017 giant sequoia trees could be sawed through with a blunt plastic butter knife before this fear could be.
Is this fear justified? Is this fear founded on settled truths? Somewhat. There are certainly plenty of justified fears floating around in this sea of confusion and anger. But at the same time, a lot of fear we cannot see. We fear something that we don’t know for sure is, was, or will be the case.
There are another two paradoxical fears I didn’t mention earlier, and those are the fears of fear and of faith.
We don’t like to be afraid. In fact, you could say that we fear being afraid. Why? Because we become bottled up in what we do not know. The fear of the unknown is practically an all-encompassing fear. Every fear is rooted in the fear of the unknown. If you trace the fear, by asking “why” enough times, you’ll get there. And you can’t really back up fear with tangible evidence. With past examples, yes. But as a predictor of the future? No. Unless you’re psychic, in which case we need to talk.
There are also those that fear faith. Faith is believing in what you cannot see, and in what you do not empirically know. Just like with fear, you can’t really back up faith with tangible evidence, either. And that scares us. Nobody wants to believe in what they cannot see.
But at this point we’ve at least come to the relative conclusion that fear and faith are basically the same thing, except that in one, you expect the worst in time, and in the other, you expect the best in time. Neither particularly refers to the here and now, but the future, whatever is to come as a result of present circumstances.
Each of us was designed to hold on to something, to invest our energies thinking about it, to go to it as an explanation, and to hope in it. And when you really boil it down, we can either hold on to fear or faith.
The cool thing is how, in certain situations, fear can lead to faith, but faith – real, invested, and hopeful faith – can never lead to fear. Faith leads to something brighter, something that, as humans on this earth, we can never fully discover. But one day, if we cling to faith in this world, what we hope for will be fully revealed to us, and let me tell you: it will be incredibly worth the fight.
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, just as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)