“All the things I dread most, all the things I dread for others manifest in such vivid detail I can’t help but believe they’re real. … This is the nature of the tracker jacker venom, so carefully created to target the place where fear lives in your brain.”
No one likes wasps or hornets or bees…or anything that flies around stinging people, but the real evil of a tracker jacker wasn’t the annoyance it caused or the pain it inflicted. A tracker jacker’s true evil was in the fear it caused. Not so much that you were afraid of the little creature itself. This was a far more insidious kind of fear. The tracker jacker venom targeted the brain and short-circuited it so that it no longer knew reality…and then it brought all your worst fears to life. Horrible, terrifying fear—the kind of fear that leads to insanity. The tracker jackers weren’t the real weapon, they were just the carrier. Fear was the real weapon.
Fear is a weapon. Fear paralyzes you and takes you out of the game. That venom made Katniss so afraid, she couldn’t move. It made her vulnerable. Remember? Peeta came yelling at her to get her to move before the Careers killed her. Katniss was suspicious though; she didn’t know what truth was. Her first instinct was to just kill Peeta, assuming he meant to do her harm. (Just imagine the guilt she’d have had to live with later if she had killed him.) She chose to trust him and run, but eventually the fear overtook her and she stopped and curled up in the fetal position, completely incapacitated until the venom finally cleared her system and the fear subsided.
Fear works the same way in our lives. Fear paralyzes us. It makes us vulnerable to attack and hyper-suspicious. To combat those feelings of vulnerability and suspicion, it’s not uncommon for a person who is afraid to lash out and attack anyone and everyone (or thing) that gets near us. It seems to us at the time that it’s better to be on the offensive than to be vulnerable. Therefore, we destroy anything that gets near us, our tongues shooting arrows as fast and deadly as even an arrow from Katniss’ bow.
Eventually, if that fear is allowed to continue, we begin to feel as if we are going crazy. We don’t know what truth is; we have no solid ground to stand on. We suspect everyone is against us, but then, we also don’t know if we can trust our own judgment, which only heightens the feelings of fear and insecurity and vulnerability. Then, all that seems to be left for us to do is to curl up in the fetal position (metaphorically and/or literally). We shut down, incapacitated by fear, suspicion, and the loss of truth.
For Katniss, healing came when the tracker jacker venom cleared her system. Once the venom was gone, she was able to see things clearly again—she could know the truth again. For us, it’s not really so simple. We can’t just sleep it off.
Scripturally, it seems there are two ways to combat fear and both of them are found in the person of Jesus. Truth and love, those are the two weapons we use to fight against fear. Truth helps us with the confusion and paranoia and deception that are so often either the root of fear or the result of it. One of the most important truths for us to cling to is the truth that we are dearly loved by the God of the Universe. When we truly grasp that the all-powerful, all-knowing Lord of Lords and King of Kings loves us, fears begin to disappear. What have we to be afraid of? If HE loves us and is for us, then who can be against us? This is why the Bible says that “perfect love drives out fear.” The more we trust in His love, the farther fear is pushed out of our hearts and minds.
Fear is a weapon, but fortunately for us, it isn’t a chemical reaction produced in our brain by a fancy wasp’s sting. It’s not something we have to succumb to. Did you know that fear is not from God? 2 Timothy 1:7 says just that: “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power and love and self-discipline.”
So, when you feel fear coming over you, know that it is one of the enemy’s weapons designed to confuse you, to make you feel vulnerable so that you hurt others, and ultimately to shut you down and incapacitate you. Wage war against it. Go back to God’s word to find the truth about your circumstances. Do you feel condemned? Remember that “there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” Do you feel unloved? Remember God loved you enough to give his only begotten son so that you and He could be in relationship. Are your circumstances bleak? Remember that God is your provider and your healer. Does it seem the obstacles and enemies in your life are insurmountable? Remember that He who is in you has overcome the world, and everyone born of God (that could be you!) overcomes the world.
Of all the truths, don’t neglect the most important truth of God’s love for you. When you rest in the fact that He loves you, all the other promises of the Bible begin to feel more possible and more certain. The more you believe in God’s love, the easier it is to believe God’s promise that He is working all things (even the ones that seem bad or scary) to “the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
Questions for Discussion:
- What are the things that you tend to be afraid of?
- Have you ever had a fear that you later realized was not based on reality?
- How often would you say that your fears are based on things you imagine? How often are they the result of a lie?
- How much difference would love make to your biggest fears? Think about this!
- How much difference would it make if you really believed that GOD (all-powerful, sovereign, all-knowing, Maker and King of the Universe) loved you and was using everything to His glory and your ultimate good?
- Which verses and principles in the Bible could you apply to different fears that you have? How would that help?
Click here to see all the Hunger Games inspired Devotions.
Click here to see a compilation of quotes from the Hunger Games.