Characteristics of Fearfulness

Time and time again, fear resides in Gideon’s heart – ready to rear its formidable head.

A vast army has gathered again, ready to raid the land at harvest time. Meanwhile, the Lord has promised Gideon total victory … and still he needs divine confirmation concerning his call. “Gideon said to God, ‘If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said’ ” (Judges 6:36–37).

God exercises great patience with Gideon’s fragile faith … and the next morning His reluctant servant finds a damp fleece and a dry floor. But wait a minute … Gideon must have pondered … might not that have happened naturally? Of course the floor would dry before the fleece. So he asks God again … to participate in another test … but this time to reverse the outcome – with a dry fleece and a damp floor. And, “that night God did so” (Judges 6:40).

Symptoms of Normal

The fear Gideon feels is completely understandable. His enemy is real.… His life is in real danger. He has “normal” fear. However, God has proven Himself to be both powerful and trustworthy. It isn’t that God doesn’t see Gideon’s situation or is denying his dilemma – God knows neither is a problem for Him – Gideon needs to know that too! No fear, normal or abnormal, is beyond God’s ability to resolve.

Normal Fear

  • Why would God give us the emotion of fear if it could be detrimental to us? The answer is found in asking another question, “If at this moment you were surprised by an assailant with a knife in his hand, would you want the benefits of fear?” Those benefits include …
  • Apprehension (to proceed with caution)
  • Breathing increased (to deliver more oxygen to the body)
  • Energy increased (to provide the fuel to take immediate action)
  • Heart rate increased (to fuel your muscles with blood)
  • Hyperalertness (to increase awareness of danger)
  • Mind racing (to provide options to consider)
  • Muscles contracting (to prepare for the “fight or flight” reaction)
  • Perspiration increased (to cool the body down and prevent overheating)
  • Pupils dilated (to increase vision, especially at night)
  • Senses heightened (for the purpose of dealing with the feared object)
  • Sleep lessened (to provide more “awake” time)
  • Talking increased (to aid in communication about the problem)