Confronting Fear with C.S. Lewis
My parents recently shared with me what theologian C.S. Lewis wrote in the midst of fear around the atomic bomb in 1948. I was struck by how we could replace the word, “bomb,” with pretty much anything that evokes fear in our lives. Lewis had witnessed followers of Jesus become paralyzed with fear and cease from doing the good that Jesus called us to do.
I often hear well-founded lament on the world’s current condition, and sometimes that voice is my own. We absolutely need to lament the effect of sin and brokenness in our world, but we also must not build our homes on the sandy shore of fear. Lewis’ words resound over 70 years later with a call to action of how to combat those fears.
The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.*
It’s no surprise that C.S. Lewis was well-familiar with St. Paul’s words to the Romans: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds” (Romans 12:2). If we truly wish to have the mind of Christ, we can begin with asking him to cast fear and that fear would have no control over us.
What do you fear today? Might I encourage you to confront that fear by engaging in a “sensible and human thing?” In his sacrifice on the cross, Jesus has given us victory and hope that nothing in this world can take away from us. Let us be a people of confidence in who he is!
all good things to each of you,
*From Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays by C.S. Lewis