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What are you afraid of?

The 10 most common phobias, according to fear.net are trypophobia or the fear of holes, Aerophobia or the fear of flying is number nine and is associated with agoraphobia or the fear of being trapped and claustrophobia or the fear of being enclosed in a small space. Mysophobia or the fear of germs is number eight and is related to obsessive compulsive disorder. Claustrophobia or the fear of small spaces is number seven and is related to the fear of suffocation or restriction. Astraphobia or the fear of thunder and lightning is number six.

Cynophobia or the fear of dogs is number five, and the majority are also afraid of cats. Agoraphobia or the fear of open or crowded spaces is number four and affects two of every 10 Americans. They were not at the mall on Black Friday! 

Acrophobia or the fear of heights is number three and affects 10 percent of the population. Ophidiophobia or the fear of snakes is number two and affects a third of the population including me. Number one is arachnophobia or the fear of spiders. Is there anyone who’s not afraid of spiders? But Fear.net left out the fear of speaking in public, which I’d always though was number one.

Most people with a phobia go to extreme measures to avoid embarrassing situations, especially the “larger-than-life, perfect-in-every-way” celebrities. Michael Jordan is terrified of the ocean after seeing a childhood friend drown. Hans Christian Andersen and renowned musician Frederic Chopin were both afraid of being buried alive, although I can’t imagine anyone who isn’t?

But take heart; 1 John 4:18 tells us, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 

I don’t really think this is a verse about spiders or snakes or heights, although those are fascinating fears. It’s a message about the end of life and what lies beyond death. Maybe the most comforting words in the Bible are found in Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

The Bible tells us God’s name is “YAHWEH” or “I am who I am,” and the Bible describes him by saying, “God is love.” We might all ask, “In what ways have we experienced the love of God? From his birth to his baptism to his cross to his resurrection, Jesus’ love for us is persistent, enduring and sacrificial.” 

And now, during this Christmas season, how can we share that love with our families? With our friends? With our co-workers? 

Even with the crowds on the roads and at the mall?!