At first glance, that seems an ominous headline or unrealistic at best, until you realize the nature of this particular wildfire.
You have probably heard the phrase “fight fire with fire.” Foresters do that by starting intentional “prescribed burns” in vulnerable areas. The idea is that if a wildfire breaks out, the ground will already have been pre-burned, leaving no “ground-fuel” or raw material such as dry sticks and leaves, to fuel the fire, causing it to die in its tracks.
In a world that has been consumed by a wildfire of fear, I want us to consider fighting fear with fear.
In January, our country saw its first confirmed case of COVID-19, and on March 11, 2020, the COVID-19 was deemed a pandemic by the WHO. That was the flint used to spark a wildfire of fear in our nation and the world abroad.
As human beings, we want to feel like we are in control of what happens to us, even if it is only perceived control. But when we lose that control, it sparks fear and anxiety, and understandably so.
Even some who claim not to believe in God, find themselves re-evaluating what they believe about life, death, and God during uncertain times. One of the most popular searches on Google right now is, “What does the Bible say about plagues.”
The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom …” (Psalm 111:10). It also says, “The fear of the Lord leads to life ...” (Proverbs 19:23). This fear of God is a reverent, awestruck, holy kind of fear, and this holy fear of God leads to wisdom and wisdom leads to repentance and repentance leads to forgiveness of our sins, which ultimately leads to life in Christ. This holy fear that we are to have toward God is for our good. It is a healthy and powerful fear. It is a God-ordained fear.
However, there is another fear lurking in our midst that is neither healthy nor God-ordained. It is the flint that kindled and the fuel that feeds the wildfire of fear that is consuming our nation and our world right now.
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) The word “thief” there is referring to Satan. Jesus called him a thief because he seeks to steal, kill and destroy any semblance of peace that we might have in our lives, along with anything else he can take from us.
The way to fight the wildfire of fear propagated by Satan is with the holy fear of God.
The Bible says, “… Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:14) It says in the book of Romans, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
The Bible teaches that when someone turns to God, repents of their sins and believes upon Jesus Christ as their Savior, they will be saved! And upon doing so, they will have in essence, performed a pre-burn in their own lives, warding off the threatening wildfire of fear perpetrated by Satan, leaving him powerless to consume anything in their lives.
The Bible says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you ...” (Isaiah 41:10) In that verse, God is saying don’t fear anything or anyone else but me.
The Bible teaches that when someone gives their life to Jesus Christ and walks with Him daily, they will experience what the Bible calls a “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Proverbs 3:5-6). That peace is the peace of God, and it exists in the lives of God’s people even in the direst of circumstances, even when it makes no sense to the rest of the world.
That is how to fight the evil, life-consuming, death-provoking fear propagated by Satan; with the Holy, life-giving, death-defying fear of the Living God!
The Bible says, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear but of love, of power and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
My prayer for us all, during these uncertain times, is that the flint of conviction sparked by the Holy Spirit will ignite and set ablaze a prescribed burn of Holy Fear of the living God in each of our lives. And when the wildfire of fear perpetrated by Satan, threatens to consume us, it will find, upon its advance, that there is nothing there for it to burn, no ground-fuel to feed it, and hence, will have no other recourse but to die in its tracks.
Lisa Hannan lives in Valdosta with her husband, Attorney Miles Hannan, who has been practicing law in Valdosta for over 30 years. She has a B.S. in psychology from Valdosta State University. You can find her at www.lisahannan.org.