Seventy years ago, on March 13, 1943, Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want” appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.
During World War II, President Roosevelt declared Four Freedoms he felt were fundamental to humanity: freedom of speech and worship, and freedom from fear and want. Rockwell’s Four Freedoms paintings were made into posters for the US Second War Loan Drive in April 1943.
Seventy years ago, the world was a fearsome place. Nazi Germany controlled most of western continental Europe and militarist Japan had conquered most of southeast Asia and the Pacific islands.
Within a few years, the governments that had caused so much fear and death were toppled. The external triggers of fear were removed – but did fear disappear?
The human mind is inclined to fear. This can benefit us as we imagine possible dangers and protect ourselves. A healthy amount of fear motivates us to do our best work on the job, to fasten our seatbelts, to vaccinate our children, to save for the future, and to brush and floss.
But fear has a tendency to worm inside, make itself at home, and spread its poison. Fear of ridicule can keep us from doing the right thing. Fear of failure – or success – can paralyze us at work. Fear of being hurt can impede true friendship and love. Fear of whatever threat is popular on the internet this week can disrupt our lives.
This is no way to live. The most common command in the Bible is “Do not fear!” God wants us to trust Him completely, and fear is a lack of trust. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” We should let His perfect love drive out fear (1 John 4:18) and live in the freedom God desires for us.
How does the Lord help you find true freedom from fear?