I wish I could see you right now. But I can imagine: are you straightening out a giant newspaper as you glance at my section on the last page? Or were you scrolling through the website before you clicked my article? I wonder.
Maybe, you’re a brand new Southern student reading your first issue of the Accent. Perhaps you’re a transfer student wondering how this new campus can become your home. It may be that you’re a returning student speeculating how the COVID-19 regulations will affect this school year.
Still, there is one thing that I know for certain about you. It’s one thing we both have in common: fear. I can guarantee that everyone is either experiencing fear right now or has grappled with it in the past. The adrenaline rush and sleepless nights fear creates is something embedded in our DNA.
So, how did it all begin? Let’s go back to the origin of the world.
It started in the Garden of Eden when the taste of the forbidden fruit suddenly turned sour in Adam’s and Eve’s mouths as they heard the footsteps of God walking on the soft grass. Instead of running to meet God, they hid in the bushes with scratchy fig leaves to cover their guilty consciences and distrust of God’s providence. When God asked them why they were running away, Adam answered, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Gen. 3:10 NKJV)
You’ve probably heard this story since the time you were in kindergarten. It’s the saga of how sin originated in the world. But only recently did I realize that it’s also the moment when fear was created. Like a virus, fear has plagued humanity since then and mutated into countless different forms. At its core, fear was caused through separation from God.
The good news is that God doesn’t leave Adam and Eve in their fear. In fact, this story can be viewed as a mini metaphor of the plan of salvation. God comes down to humanity. He calls out their names and covers them with clothes made from skins. He points Adam and Eve to the future when Christ’s death would cover their sinful hearts and break the wall of separation between God and their offspring.
You might have heard that perfect love casts away fear (1 John 4:18), but take that logic one step further. If God is the definition of love (1 John 4:8), then He is the very definition of being fearless. So, as we step into a new school year in the middle of all the unknowns, I want to leave you with this beautiful promise from the Fear Conqueror:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).