Banishing fear with Love

Several years ago I was faced with an extreme fear of having an accident. This came about after I’d been riding my horse in a wilderness park. Suddenly a mountain biker had come speeding up out of nowhere, and we’d narrowly avoided a collision. 

Although nothing had happened that day, the incident left me with a gripping fear of having a serious accident in the future. This fear was so intense that I was scared to ride my horse. I tried several times over a period of several months, but found I had to get off and lead him on foot. I was so afraid that I was actually shaking. Finally I realized that I couldn’t just push through the fear. Something more than willing myself to get over it was needed. At that point I turned wholeheartedly to God for guidance.

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This familiar verse from the Bible came clearly to my thought: “Perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 4:18). What is perfect love? We know from another of John’s statements that “God is love” (I John 4:16). Divine Love is perfect because it is God, invariable good. I began my prayer with the realization that because God fills all space, Love is ever present—the only presence. Divine Love is infinite, so there is no possibility of anything unlike Love, such as fear, danger, or any threat to our well-being.

One of the dictionary definitions of perfect is “exactly fitting the need.” I think of “perfect love” as a power that completely and fully meets the need. If the need is to be free of fear, as mine was, we can trust that divine Love is present, liberating us from any belief in limitation and, therefore, from fear. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy states, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (p. 494). 

As we meet and overcome fear in our own lives, we contribute to the lessening of fear globally. 

As our thought is filled with the recognition of Love’s actual presence and power to meet our every need, in that proportion does our fear lessen until it disappears. The radiant reality of God’s magnificence and glory—as Love—completely replaces our doubts and anxieties. Freedom results, and we are able to respond to Love’s presence with confidence.

The Bible also says of God, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). What an awesome thing—in our true nature as God’s idea, we “live, and move, and have our being” in Love! It is the very nature of Love to protect, to comfort, to shelter. 

We can be assured of our absolute safety because of the tangible presence of Love. It embraces, reassures. It is ever merciful. By simply opening our thought to the liberating presence of Love, we are lifted beyond the mesmerizing trap of fear. We find ourselves free to trust our heavenly Father as an active and present help that corrects and heals any fearful situation.

When I finally prayed in earnest to be released from the paralyzing fear of a riding accident, I let my heart be filled with the reassurance of Love’s actual presence, which precludes the possibility of an accident. I felt the power of this Love replacing my fear. I actually could feel that Love held me—and everyone else—safe, because there could be nothing but safety in Love’s presence. 

Within minutes I was free from the fear that had haunted me for those months. I was able to ride that horse again, with great joy and a feeling of God’s protecting presence. That was years ago, and I can honestly say I’ve been entirely free of the fear of equine accidents, as well as any others.

Fear can be mesmeric, and sometimes it can be hard to realize that divine Love is ever present. The spiritual reality, though, is that we can never be cut off from God, no matter what the human circumstances may be. What fear is presenting, therefore, is not a reality, but an illusion.

I got a fresh insight into the way an illusion can affect thought when I learned of a phenomenon in nature called “bubble netting.” When humpback whales discover a school of herring, they circle the fish while emitting a stream of bubbles that come to the surface, much like the rising of carbonated water. This forms what appears to the fish to be an impenetrable net enclosing them and from which they believe they cannot escape. Thus the fish become easy prey for the whales. But the reality is that the fish could swim out of the barrier if they could see through the illusion.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalms 27:1

To us, fear can be very much like a bubble net is to herring. We sometimes feel trapped by it, paralyzed, as I was feeling with my horse. Praying to understand that we actually live in Love, divine Spirit, can awaken us to the spiritual understanding that allows us to overcome the mesmerizing effects of fear.

The implications for our world as each of us moves past the hypnotic, unreal net of fear, are enormous. As we meet and overcome fear in our own lives, we contribute to the lessening of fear globally. We can participate prayerfully in helping mankind see its way out of some pretty widespread fears—such as terrorism, catastrophic natural disasters, climate change, the using up of the earth’s natural resources, etc. 

Mrs. Eddy talks about the power of prayer to reach deeply into the heart of humanity when she says: “The ‘still, small voice’ of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bound. The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, ‘as when a lion roareth.’ It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear” (Science and Health, p. 559). What a great gift to offer to mankind—the demonstration of divine Love’s power to bring about the healing of fear through the understanding of Love’s ability to meet every human need!

Our true identity
January 11, 2016

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