Track 3 – No Thief Like Fear

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This is another collaboration with my friend Jason Ingram. I started this song a couple of years ago and got a third of the way into it before I realized that it sounded nearly exactly like “Hey There Delilah” by the Plain White T’s. I felt dumb. (Sing verse two to that melody and you’ll hear the misguided beginnings of this song).

I brought it to Jason Ingram and together we reshaped it into what it is now with it’s rowdy gang vocal chorus. The outro was written as a kind of whistling in the dark–me giving myself a good talking to, declaring a truth I believe in the face of the fear that would tell me otherwise.

Following are some thoughts about fear that I wrote for the Special Edition of the new CD:

No Thief Like Fear

Fear: our companion in the good times when we’re afraid they will end too soon and in the bad times when we’re afraid they will endure like a night with no dawn. Have we stopped to account for how much fear costs us? It’s highway robbery. And what do we get in return for what we give to fear? More of the same, which we never wanted in the first place.

Surely, there is no thief like fear. The point of its knife is always in my back; its cold breath on my neck; its voice – in turns gibbering and sensual – demanding my attention, wanting this and every moment. It robs me of sleep, health, joy, and hope. It tempts me to always assume the worst of every situation and person. It wants to rule me and make all my decisions. In short, fear covets my worship and wants me as its slave. Ironically, It only has as much power as I give to it.

Is fear “a disease or an addiction?” asks Frederick Buechner. “Perhaps it is something of both. Partly, perhaps, because you can’t help it, and partly because you choose not to.”

“Be not afraid,” God tells us.

But then we are also told “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” If he knows how inclined we are to fear, could it be a kindness that God tells us to fear him?  “Perfect love casts out all fear,” we are told. But since we can’t or won’t seem to be rid of it, does he provide the one place to aim our fear that strips it of its power to rule us? Jesus willingly became the object of God’s wrath, is God perhaps willing to be the object of our fear?

Of course he is the only thing really worthy to be feared – the one who holds the whole world in his hands; the one in whose presence men cannot survive; the one dressed in a robe dipped in blood, with eyes of blazing fire and a sword for a mouth; the Lion of Judah who, as C.S. Lewis wrote, “is not a safe lion.”

“But he is good,” Lewis continues.  Good is he who is strong as a lion but also gentle as a lamb, good is he who came as a baby to save the world, meek and mild and magnificent, good the one who carves our name in the palm of his hand. Yes, he is worthy to be feared. Yes, he is the perfect peace that passes all understanding.

Just as he gives idolaters a place to put their worship, perhaps he gives the fearful a place to put their fear – and then with perfect love, casts it out.

No Thief Like Fear
(Jason Gray / Jason Ingram)

Fear will take the best of us
Then come back for the rest of us
Its rabid hunger never satisfied
It’s closer than a brother
And more jealous than a lover
Who holds you while it swallows you alive
Let down your guard
And it will steal your heart

There’s no thief like fear, no
There’s no thief like fear, no
Oh oh oh oh oh oh

I’ve tried to blame bureaucracy
The weak-knees of hypocrisy
And the cruel and shifting winds of circumstance
But I know insecurity
Is the worst of my own enemies
He sings his lonely tune and I will dance
As he robs me blind
Right before my eyes

Set me free, set me free
Oh my God set me free
From the chains holding me
Oh my God set me free

I am free, I am free
Oh my God has rescued me
From these chains I am released
For my God has set me free

 


13 Comments

  1. Vanessa

    Wow.

    Been wrestling with these ideas of love casting out fear, but I’m supposed to fear God, but not be afraid… This is a beautiful articulation of what I’ve been thinking and feeling lately. Especially true that “insecurity is the worst of my enemies”.

    And how I need to be reminded’I am free…” Thanks be to God!

  2. Loren

    This is one of those awesome songs where I feel like I’m hurling it at Fear and yelling, “Take that! You have no power over me, for my God has set me free!” What exultation. Thank you for that reminder, Jason.

  3. Donna

    This song reminded me of one of my favorite Yoda quotes–

    “fear leads to the dark side”

    When I trust the fear melts aay.

    Thank you for this song.

  4. Jason

    Wow…after what I wrote on my blog yesterday about realizing that I’d been letting fear win finding this today was eventful. I’ll be adding this to my “pump me up” mix. 🙂

  5. Kaitlyn

    Rowdy Irish pub band! 🙂 This is one of my favorites. I’d like to think of it as an anthem of sorts, saying that fear doesn’t have a grip over us.

  6. Brian

    Can’t help but remember this :

    “I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    …” Dune

    Not sure what level of geekdom that sentences me to. 🙂

  7. Dan R.

    I just wanted to say thank you again for making this song.
    I was listening to it today and thinking how much I appreciate it, and how I’ll probably only appreciate it more as time goes by. Thanks!

  8. Jerry

    This by far is one of my favorite songs! I love albums like yours that is saturated with the grace of God and about overcoming fear! My oldest son also LOVES this song!

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