Fear is not a bad thing if it is telling us not to do something foolhardy. But often fears unnecessarily protect our fragile egos by putting up walls of protection so that we don't rock the boat, don't try anything new. I've heard from widows and divorcees that when they overcome their fear and do something that only their deceased or divorced husbands had done before, they've felt an incredible thrill of triumph when they've been able to accomplish that task. They have new self-confidence, a new belief that they can survive and be whole.
Fear of public speaking is considered to be one of the greatest general fears. Yet many parents who have lost children to certain diseases or to drunk drivers or accidents or even murder have learned to address groups, even to speak in front of cameras because their love and loss and desire to accomplish something good to honor that child have overcome that fear. Great suffering often puts our private fears into perspective so that we see them for what they are - petty and insubstantial.
Other fears may be very real indeed yet we know we're called by God to confront them. I've met many holy men and women who worked with A.I.D.S. patients at the beginning of the epidemic when there were no decent medicines yet and people were dying quickly. People were told by the scientists that you couldn't "catch" it through normal contact but many didn't believe the scientists. Anyone with A.I.D.S. was isolated from society, treated like a leper. And A.I.D.S was called that "Gay" Disease. Homosexuals got it, and what "decent" person cared about helping THOSE societal lepers anyway?!
So if you worked with A.I.D.S. patients, people treated you like a leper too. Social isolation for workers was a real threat. Yet these workers' perfect love and compassion for the suffering cast out that fear from their hearts. They did the ministry and accepted the societal rejection.
We can't become towers of strength unless we first walk through an adversity that could destroy us. Only survivors of the worst show the strength of character of the best. There is a hard-won wisdom and compassion in their eyes. They have learned what they can live without. They have learned what they can live with. They have learned how to overcome their worst fears by confronting them, head on.
Fear is the greatest enemy of love - healthy love for ourselves, sacrificial love for others, trustful love for God. Yet if we trust in God, God will bring us through every trial, stronger than we were before we walked through that particular fire. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31.)