“I have some good news and some bad news. Which do you want to hear first?” Almost uniformly I will answer, "The bad news." A fear of good news seems to plague me. What if something good happens? How long will it last before I plunge back into a difficult season? What if the “good news” is just a teaser, and turns out to be “fake news”? I ask myself these questions every time someone confronts me with supposed good news, and I know that other Christians feel the same way.
This fear of good news seems to plague the modern mind. After the whirlwind of a year we’ve undergone, we may feel as though any good news appears to us in some sort of illusion. Perhaps due to the negative media that surrounds us, we may forget the ultimate Good News we experience as Christians. In this article, we’ll dive into examples of people in the Bible who also didn’t want to believe in the good news they heard. We’ll explore some reasons as to why many of us fear good news, and how to overcome this.
Who in Scripture Had a Fear of Good News?
Plenty of people in Scripture didn’t want to hear good tidings. For the best examples, let’s look at the death and resurrection of Jesus. Many of Jesus’ followers had the ground pulled out from underneath them after Jesus’ execution.
After all, they expected Jesus to stick around far longer and, perhaps the zealots amongst them, hoped he’d topple Rome. So when he died on the cross, they didn’t know what to do. They fell into a funk. Some of them returned to fishing, their old lifestyle, uncertain of their next steps (John 21). So, when Jesus appears to them, at first, they think he’s an apparition. It goes without saying, Thomas doubts until he actually touches the wounds of Jesus (John 20). The men who actually walk with Jesus on the road to Emmaus don’t recognize their own Savior, the very same man who journeyed with them and whose miracles they witnessed for years. Even Mary Magdalene mistakes Jesus as a gardener (John 20). Why? Because the good news was hard to believe, and they didn’t want to get their hopes up again.
What Does the Bible Say about Good News?
Nevertheless, we have the everlasting Good News of salvation. The Bible has plenty to say about this subject.
Mark 16:15: “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
Gospel in this verse means “good news.” Christians literally preach the good news when they evangelize and witness to others for Christ.
Romans 10:15: “And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
God delights in seeing us spread the good news to all nations. We don’t often get the words "feet" and "beautiful" mixed together in Scripture, but the passage seems to imply an urgency. We run with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 52:7: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
I love this particular verse from a writing standpoint. We publish salvation. As Christians, we spread the good news on every hilltop, in every medium, to reach as many people as we can for Christ. Obviously, Scripture rejoices in the spread of good news. So why do we fear it when we hear it?
3 Reasons Why You Have a Fear of Good News
We can point to a host of reasons for why we’d fear good news. And this article, by no means, can cover all of them. Nevertheless, we can pinpoint some overarching reasons for why we’d dread hearing good news.
We’ve Heard Good News that Fell Flat
Tell me if this sounds familiar. You waited and yearned for something to happen. Then, by some miracle or answered prayer, it seemed like it came to fruition. Only for, moments later, you to realize that it was far too good to be true. So, when we hear about good news, we hesitate, from having experienced a burn before.
We’ve Heard Mostly Negative News
Good news sounds almost foreign to our ears. Considering most of our media, social media, and discussions we hear fall under the negative light, we may distrust something hopeful and cheerful. Perhaps we wait for the supposed good news to fizzle.
We Fear It Won’t Last Forever
Perhaps this good news comes to fruition, but for how long? Maybe you finally got a job, but what if layoffs happen early? Perhaps you found the love of your life, but what if they cheat in a few years? We anticipate that this good news will disappear from our lives forever, so why enjoy it?
3 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Good News
What do we do with this? As Christians, our identity exists because of the Good News of Jesus Christ. How in the world do we combat our instant reaction of anxiety or dread when we receive good news? Let’s explore some ways to overcome this initial shock.
Remember God Has a Plan for Your Life
God doesn’t guarantee we’ll never experience suffering. In fact, Scripture promises the opposite. But God has beautiful moments in every season of our lives, not just the hopeful ones. We can know that when we receive good news to an answered prayer that God’s plan for our lives has become visible to us. And even when he doesn’t appear to give an answer, he still works behind the scenes. So embrace the good news and praise God for the gift of it.
Remember God Has Crafted Different Seasons
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
Yes, good news doesn’t always persist. We enter seasons of weeping and mourning, as mentioned in the verses above. But just because a season doesn’t last forever doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy it.
Remember the Everlasting Good News
True, good news may not always last, but the Good News does. We can remember how ultimately no matter what pain or suffering we endure pales in comparison with the everlasting joy we’ll experience in heaven. So even if we enter a hard season or good news turns out to be fake news, we know that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
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Hope Bolinger is a multi-published novelist and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 1,200 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy is out with IlluminateYA. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. And her inspirational adult romance Picture Imperfect releases in November of 2021. Find out more about her at her website.