For the LORD spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
(Isaiah 8:11-13 ESV)
In the mid-1990s we subscribed to Time Magazine for a couple of years. About that same time we gained access to the beginnings of the Web on computer (with the mighty Windows 3.1). It didn’t take long before I started a file I called “The Willies File” – you know, stories that give you the willies. Because I’m a kind of politics/history addict, most of the stories I was collecting were in that realm. The problem was that it only took about six months for me to fill not just one file folder, but two. There are just so many things out there that’ll weird you out.
Along the way I read some kind of scholarly stuff on the John F. Kennedy assassination. One of the major contributors to the material, a member of the Warren Commission, wrote that the chief argument against the idea that President Kennedy was killed by some sort of major conspiracy between the CIA and Cuba, for example, is precisely that we don’t want to believe that one seriously unhinged man could possibly take out the President of the United States.
We badly want there to be some malevolent force out there, the Illuminati or some such group, that is behind these kind of events. Even though we have been told that a conspiracy actually did exist within radical Islam, many Americans want to believe the only way these events could have happened on our soil was if President Bush and/or the CIA knew, approved, and planned the attacks on September 11, 2001. We just don’t like to feel that vulnerable.
God has other advice for believers: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear.” Sure, there are a lot of things in the world you could be scared of. But Isaiah concludes that if we want to be afraid of any force in the world around us, it would be well to “let him (God) be your fear, and let him be your dread.”
The reason is clear. With every other force we can think of, there is nothing to be done about the threat. Our government is spending close to 1 Trillion (a 1 with 15 zeros) every year to do what it can to prevent the baddies from getting us. That’s called “defense.” And our “state of alert” is nearly always at orange, because there’s always someone out there threatening us.
Jesus said, "I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.” (Luke 12:4-6)
If we really believed that the only Person who can do us any real harm is God, we would live very differently than we do. Sure, a terrorist or a crazy could come into my home tomorrow and kill my family. But that’s not the worst thing that could happen to us. Jama and I know the Lord. So the worst thing that could happen to us can’t happen to us, because the worst thing that could happen to us would be if we were to die without knowing the Savior. And while God is not only capable of causing me harm and certainly justified if he wanted to, I have full confidence that God won’t do that. Why? Because he has told me that my trusting Christ for my salvation is an iron-clad deal. Nothing, nothing, nothing he says, “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So when you turn the evening news on tonight, watch the parade of conspiracies through different eyes, knowing, as the Psalm says, “he will come and save you,” and as Isaiah 41 tells us, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”