The Fear

“God is our refuge and strength”

I still remember ‘the Fear’, the knot in the stomach that came with the drone of Vulcan bombers flying over the school yard, bombers that we knew were loaded with primed nuclear bombs just waiting for the order. It didn’t matter from whom it would come, American J F Kennedy or Russian Nikita Khrushchev, we knew we were on the brink of the world being reduced to an irradiated, lifeless wasteland. That ‘Fear’ stalked Europe every day in those Cold War years, a fear that young teenagers were not equipped to deal with, a cold fear that black-shadowed waking hours. Where would I hide? Which piece of concrete would be thick enough to shield from the irradiating blast?

“Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way

                                                and the mountains fall into the sea” 

Those Cold War years are long gone, although the current Russian president, though lacking the power of Khrushchev, seems to be trying to restore them, however, on a recent visit to Europe, a few days after the Paris massacre by ISIS, it was noticeable that the ‘Fear’ is back, you can feel it. I heard it in conversations at the supermarket checkout, then again lining up at the post office. The ‘Fear’ is there in the voices of parents on talk back radio worrying about how they are going to explain this thing called ‘Terrorism’ to their primary age children. The ‘Fear’, that is evidenced by police armed with never before seen automatic weapons now on the streets of European cities, is back.

“Though its waters roar and foam,

                        And the mountains quake with its surging”

Silly to fly I was told! Maybe a bomb on board, this just after Russian Airliner brought down over Egypt, a terrorist bomb thought to be the cause. But now in these Christian years I have a resource I didn’t have as I listened to those nuclear bombers droning over the school yard, and constant news reports of imminent incineration, for

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God

                                    The holy place where the most high dwells,

                                    God is with her, she will not fail,

                                    God will help her at the break of day”

We have a resource available “at the break of day” a time when armies went out to battle, a resource embedded in the song of the Psalmist (46) that Christian hope and security lies not in military might, submachine gun laden police, even a successful “war on terror”, or ever more stringent checks at airports. No but in the fact that even when

“Nations are in turmoil, kingdoms fall . . . . “

“The Lord Almighty is with us,

       The God of Jacob is our fortress”

Our security lies in the God who says

“Be still (relax) and know (experience) that I am God”                                      

The antidote to the “Fear”, one I wished I had all those cold war years ago, is ‘Faith’. That is the Psalmist’s trust in the Father of whom Jesus said-

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;

                                                No one can snatch them out of my hand . . . .”

          My Father, who has given them to me is greater than all,

                                                No one can snatch them out of my father’s hand”

The ‘Fear’ stalks the world stage again, casting its black shadows over ordinary lives, and make no mistake our children worry inside. The ‘Fear’ knows no boundaries and respects no country or person, from Paris to Sydney’s Martin place, it haunts the checkout line and the schoolyard. The ‘Fear’ erects a ‘Ring of Steel’ around the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the iconic Boxing Day cricket match, but our response in the face of the ’Fear’ is to sing that song of faith first given voice so long ago-

“The Lord Almighty is with us,         

                        The God of Jacob is our refuge”


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