The question from yesterday's prayer seems pretty simple: did Jesus ever fear? But the answer is far from clear.
We never see Jesus show fear. We see Him show hesitation. We see Him show resignation. We see Him face His most dire circumstances with a certain degree of confidence. It's a confidence that, when I'm afraid, I just don't have. Maybe somewhere deep inside of me, but not anywhere near where I could keep myself from trembling.
Yet, we are also told that Jesus was fully human. That He was the Son of Man. And man...fears. Jesus shows us anger. He shows us righteous anger. He shows us compassion. He shows us love. He speaks with sarcasm. He answers questions with more questions. He does everything a man is known to do, except hate. Except, also, fear?
The New Testament says that Jesus was tempted with every temptation known to man but did not sin. But fear...fear is not a temptation. Fear is not really a choice between one thing and another. Nobody considers whether he fears or not; he just does it. It just sort of happens to him. He looks this life square in the face, and suddenly, he's afraid.
Fear, at its core, is an emptiness. It's a hollowness. It's what happens when there's so much barren space in your life that the worries of this world get down in there and echo around until it's all you can think about, all you can hear, all you can fathom. That's why faith stands in contrast to fear. Faith is a fullness; it's this thing that just pours into you until you're so full that it pours out of you. That's what we call being faithful. (Faith-full.)
It's hard to think, then, that Jesus ever could have feared. It's hard to think that He could have been empty enough to fear. It's hard to think that the Son of God has any hollow place in Him, even in His human flesh, for fear to echo. Maybe that's why we never see it in the Scriptures. Maybe that's why we don't see Him fear.
But I'm not Jesus. And I'm not always so faith-full. I don't have that direct connection with God where I know what's going to happen and why and how everything is going to work out. The best I have is a promise - that this, too, can be woven together for good. That doesn't always make it comfortable.
I was looking the other day, looking to Jesus for an answer to fear. Trying to figure out how we're supposed to deal with this. I was struck by how little God's Word has to say about this, and how often it says it. See, what God's Word says in regard to fear is also pretty simple: Do not fear. Do not be afraid. God says it all the time, and that's all we get. Is it so simple? Can we simply refuse to fear?
Because you can't deal with emptiness just by refusing to acknowledge it. You can't answer hunger by simply declaring you're not hungry. Eventually, you have to eat or you will continue to be hungry. You have to start filling up your emptiness with something else. You have to start speaking new voices into the echo chambers, voices that drawn out this life's worries. It's not enough to just say, "I trust" or "I believe." These have to be visceral things. They have to be real, substantial things you're doing. You have to give place to them. They have to take up space in your emptiness or you're never going to answer fear.
I still think, some days, that it would be nice to see Jesus deal with fear. Real fear. Real gut-twisting, breath-catching, knee-shaking fear. It would be nice to have that example.
But I think, too, it's encouraging to be reminded that I wasn't made for fear. Even in my human nature, even in my broken flesh, fallen as I am, there's still no place for fear. There's no reason to be afraid. As long as my heart remains full, there's no place for the voices of fear to echo. Faith really is the remedy.
(Easier said than done.)