When I was in Scotland, I passed by a certain hotel. The hotel forever burned itself in my memory because of its name – The Dreadnought. Most people think of a battle ship when they hear that word. But what most people don’t know is that the word was originally a Scottish battle cry, meaning “fear nothing.” My travel companions and I were impressed by the idea of such a battle cry.
Since returning home from Europe last fall, I have thought back on loads of awesome memories. But surprisingly, one thing that keeps coming back to my mind over and over again is not (as I would have expected) the views from the Eiffel Tower or London Bridge. I keep thinking about that Scottish hotel, more specifically about its name. The idea of fearing nothing intrigues me to no end. I can imagine fearlessness up to a reasonable point, but sooner or later everyone has to be afraid of something, right? That was what I used to think, but the Lord has recently shown me something about fear that has caused me to rethink the way I look at the whole issue.
I’ve always loved 1 Peter 3:6. I’ve read Peter’s advice to women, using Sarah as an example, loads of times. But one day this phrase jumped out at me like never before: “And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” I reread the verse again, amazed that I had never noticed that phrase before – do not fear anything that is frightening. I don’t know about you, but I tend to think of the Bible’s commands to not worry as applying to the relatively petty things that usually frighten me: deadlines, social disapproval, sickness, etc. These small things are what usually get me flustered, and are what I have to bring to the Lord, asking Him to help me not be anxious. But think about that phrase in First Peter again: do not fear anything that is frightening. In other words, Peter is fully acknowledging that there are legitimately frightening things in life…and yet we are not to fear them.
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this fact. Is it really possible to live on this earth and fear nothing? What about the death of a loved one? A life lived alone? Economic collapse? Car wrecks? Epidemics? There are plenty of truly terrifying things that could happen – and do happen – all over the world every day. They could happen to you. They could happen to me. So how are we to live a fearless life?
What it all comes down to is this: do we trust God? If God is real, if He is good, if He is all powerful, and if His word is absolutely true, then we can trust Him to bring us through anything and everything that we face in life. If He is not who He says He is, then by all means: panic. But if God’s word is true, if His promises are to be believed and His commands to be obeyed, then our lives should look a whole lot different than they do right now. He commands us over and over again to not be afraid. “Let not your hearts be troubled.” “Do not worry.” “Do not be afraid.” “Be of good courage.” All of these verses are actually commands – commands that Christ intends us to obey.
Either God’s word is true, or it is not. If we truly believe that the Lord’s commands are to be taken seriously, the we are to literally live lives free of fear. We are to dreadnought. Not death, not war, not torture, not poverty – nothing. Jesus never promised that we would have trouble free lives. He promised us that He would be with us and help us no matter what. It may not seem possible to live fearless lives. But with Christ’s help, nothing is impossible.
In this world we will have trouble, but dreadnought: for He has overcome the world.