Okay, Then, I’ll Be Afraid

As an English major in college, I fell in love with contemporary American poetry, and authors such as William Stafford, who wrote, “For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid.” In this poem, he penned the following words, as profound as they are confusing:
What you fear
will not go away: it will take you into
yourself and bless you and keep you.
That’s the world, and we all live there.
How is it possible that fear could “bless” and “keep” me? I’m not sure I understand or agree with that concept, but fear certainly dominates this world and we all must deal with it on a regular basis.
But what if I fear God and only God? If that’s the case, could fear be a good thing? As Michael Dye writes in his book, The Genesis Process, “Moving toward your fear is what the Bible calls a step of faith. Faith usually involves fear.” And the Bible also tells us that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). Here’s the thing (also pointed out by Mr. Dye): whatever you fear, you give power to, and will control you. God wants us to fear Him because His control will be good and good for us. Life is full of uncertainty and insecurity, so we will have fear. What’s important is what we give control to.
That’s how my fear can “bless” and “keep” me. It’s the type of fear that can make me say, “Okay, then, I’ll be afraid.” It’s not the fear itself that matters; it’s the object of my fear and whether or not I’m giving control to the right thing. Since I’ve quoted a few different sources, I’ll share one more to finish things up. These words are from the song, “Control” by Tenth Avenue North, and they go like this:
God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To open my hands up
And give You control
Troy Burns