A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. It is a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no real danger. In contrast, fear is a basic survival response to a specific stimulus involving a real danger or threat. In America, about 6.3 million people have diagnosed phobias.
Specific phobias include a fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia); animals (zoophobia), particularly spiders, snakes or mice; heights (acrophobia); flying (aerophobia); water (hydrophobia); storms; dentists; injections; tunnels; bridges; and not being able to get off public transportation quickly enough. There are many other specific phobias and social phobias like mine.
People with phobias try to avoid what they are afraid of. If they cannot, they may experience panic, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling, and a strong desire to get away. David, the writer of Psalms 27: 1-6, had experienced many of these feelings in response to real fears, real threats of war and death; yet he faced fear with confidence in The Lord:
Psalm 27:1-6 - Lord, you are my Light and my Savior, so why should I be afraid of anyone? The Lord is where my life is safe, so I will be afraid of no one! Evil people might attack me. They might try to destroy my body. Yes, my enemies might attack me and try to destroy me, but they will stumble and fall. Even if an army surrounds me, I will not be afraid. Even if people attack me in war, I will trust in the Lord. I ask only one thing from the Lord. This is what I want most: Let me live in the Lord’s house all my life, enjoying the Lord’s beauty and spending time in his palace. He will protect me when I am in danger. He will hide me in his tent. He will take me up to his place of safety. If he will help me defeat the enemies around me, I will offer sacrifices in his tent with shouts of joy. I will sing and play songs to honor the Lord.
The psalmist identifies four important remedies for fear and phobias. First, David begins the psalm by placing his faith in God. Faith overcomes fear when God is first. Second, David has many memories of times when God protected him. When your faith has faced down fear in the past, you have an experience to remember and encourage you. If your faith is still growing, recall some of your favorite stories from the Bible when ordinary people faced danger and triumphed with God's help. Faith that overcomes fear is also a faith that longs to meet God personally. It is a faith that is encouraged by the support of other believers who faced their own fears through the grace of God. Finally, we need to realize that God will be with us when we are afraid. He will help us meet our fear in one of two ways:
1. He will hide us from danger where we will not feel fear; or
2. He will lift us up to face our fear with his support and strength.
As David said, why should we fear anyone when God, the creator of the universe, and our Savior protect and guide us?