No Pain, No Gain

by Tim Gray

Fear causes us to withdraw from a perceived difficulty. We fear to suffer some evil or to lose something we desire, and so we allow fear to dictate our actions, rather than act according to what is right in keeping with God’s will and law.

Fear can be so strong as to prevent people from acting because of some difficulty or threat. So, some people may fear to fly, and thus their fear keeps them from traveling, whether for business, family, or faith.

Imagine if St. Paul were overcome by fear of sailing (traveling by ship in his day was far more dangerous than by plane in our own) and decided not to evangelize much of the Roman Empire?

Or, what if Beethoven would have given in to his fears and stopped writing symphonies after he went deaf? Much good can be lost through fear.

All our daily challenges require the firmness of mind and will that the virtue of courage provides. A student may fear to take the best course in his field, because the professor is demanding. A man may be afraid to evangelize a coworker out of fear for how he will be regarded or out of fear of not being able to answer every objection. Some are afraid to use a computer or learn a new skill because it may be too complicated for them.

We fear to say no to others because we want to be liked. In the home, how many fathers fail to discipline their children for fear that their children will not like them?

People fail to be honest out of fear. We often tell a lie because we fear that telling the truth will cause us some kind of grief.

Fear hinders us from being men of action; it is much safer to be a spectator in life. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The key to being a man of action is to be a man of courage. This virtue gives us the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. As compared to all other people, Christians have the most reason to take courage, because our God is God of all creation and has redeemed us and freed us from the powers of evil.

This article is excerpted from Lay Witness Magazine (June 2000).



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