Reasons for fear seem to trip off the tongue very readily - places, circumstances, symptoms, temperaments. They serve to justify and entrench fear and make it seem not only natural but inevitable.
Reasons for fearlessness seem to come more slowly. One of these is paramount. It's the simple fact that it isn't possible to be afraid in the presence of God. And God is always present. The Bible puts it like this: ''Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.''n1
n1 Isaiah 41:10.
The knowledge that God is with us is a demonstrable spiritual fact, not a theological abstraction. God is always with man because man is God's image, inseparable from his creator. So despite appearances, no matter how convincing, man is actually a spiritual being, under God's government and protection, not a frightened mortal struggling alone to master his fears. The need is to become conscious of this truth through prayer. Then we can find peace and healing. Fears of lack, of failure, of disease and death, don't have to spread from one individual to another. They can be faced and mastered.
What does it mean for God to be with us? It means that impartial Love is with us, that universal Truth is with us, that infinite Mind is with us. Genuine fearlessness is a deep inner tranquillity that owes nothing to material conditions but stems from a continuing consciousness of the presence of God.
Throughout his career Christ Jesus gave a wonderful example of fearlessness and helped his followers in this direction. Once, when Peter had started to walk on the water as he had seen Jesus do, he became afraid because the wind was boisterous. Jesus, always conscious of God's protective presence, stretched out his hand toward Peter and asked, ''O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?''n2
n2 Matthew 14:31.
Feeling God's presence, we won't doubt, and we can help others overcome fear. I used to be very nervous about speaking in public, and one evening I shared a platform with a man who was much more experienced than I was and who had a very keen sense of God's presence. Sensing my unease, he threw me a reassuring glance , and the fear disappeared. The next time I had to face the same task I realized that the release was permanent.
One of the most persistent fears that would weigh people down is the fear of disease. Can an understanding of God's presence with us help with this too? Christ Jesus knew that it could, and proved this many times. When we begin to understand that disease actually has a mental origin, it's easier to see why fearlessness is important - it banishes morbid, tense, introspective thinking and wakens a natural responsiveness to health, which, in truth, is always present in man as God's likeness.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''Science saith to fear, 'You are the cause of all sickness; but you are a self-constituted falsity, - you are darkness, nothingness. You are without 'hope , and without God in the world.' You do not exist, and have no right to exist, for 'perfect Love casteth out fear.' ''n3
n3 Retrospection and Introspection, p.61.
The same rebuke should be administered to fear in every form. Divine Love casts out fear because ever-present Love is supreme and constantly provides good for everyone. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. Isaiah 32:17, 18