“Fear is useless; what is needed is trust” (Lk 8:50).

With these words, Jesus dispelled the din of the mourners who assumed “the obvious:” that the life of a dead 12-year-old girl — the daughter of Jairus — was over and done with. Nothing more could be done.

And then He restored her life and gave her back to her father.

How quickly we back off and cower in the face of matters that seem to be beyond our control. They can come out of nowhere — and anywhere — but are commonly connected with health, economics, politics, end of life issues, or even the weather.

Fear is a natural reaction, a primitive reflex, of our unredeemed (fallen) human nature. Even Jesus experienced it the night before He died. But, on the third day, He rose and put an end to its power.

Christ risen from the dead offers us the alternative to fear. Something stronger than fear takes hold of our lives once we surrender in faith to Him.

The currency of all tyrants is fear. We are bribed to give up our freedom in exchange for a false sense of security. It is always a variation on the archetypical temptation in the garden of Eden.

Adam and Eve trusted God. Satan did not like this. He found a way to suggest to our first parents that God could not be trusted because He had established a certain order in His creation and set boundaries on how it should be enjoyed.

The devil fooled Adam and Eve into thinking God could not be trusted and instilled the fear that they were missing something. We know the consequences when they fell: fear, shame, slavery, murder and all of the ills that attend a loss of trust that God is the happiness we seek and the only one who can give us our true identity and fulfill our deepest desires.

All other tyrants, just like Satan, play on our fears — that we will be gypped out of something if we do not submit to their rules and allow ourselves to be under their spell.

Various forms of magic — witchcraft, Santeria, voodoo, satanic rituals, hallucinatory drugs — have always been around in some form or another and seem to be on an increase in our time. Invariably, they prey on the anxieties and fears of those who feel they are “missing out” on something in life and need some occult powers to intervene.

Instead of freedom, they bring bondage and even more fear. We have heard so many chilling stories about how various cult figures have slowly seduced even people of fame, wealth and far from sub-par intelligence, not to mention the surge of gangs sweeping up our most vulnerable youth.

Political messiahs and oligarchic cabals are as old and recurrent as human history itself: Remember, Hitler was elected! They slowly amass a power base of admirers, dependents and apologists, suppressing their critics, disarming and anesthetizing the populace with promises of peace and security, even as they tighten the noose.

Our mothers taught us to look both ways, so we ought not assume that the menace comes only from the right or the left. Whoever may have said that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, it is still advice worth heeding.

Then, of course, there is fear of the elements themselves. It is true that nature can be totally unpredictable. We do not have to go back to Noah or even the citizens of Pompeii, for eyewitnesses to natural disasters live among us. Even if the sky or a rogue meteorite (or satellite) is not likely to fall on us tomorrow, no one knows the day or the hour of the ultimate thief of time, the moment of our earthly death.

Fear has haunted humanity since the dawn — or, should I say, the eclipse of sin that descended upon us when we decided we (or someone else) knew better than God what is good for us.

The good news is, the tyranny of fear is over. On Easter Sunday, Jesus blasted a hole through death’s grip on us, blazing the path to freedom for anyone who would go with Him.

Our faith in Him offers us deliverance from sin, death and the fear by which these enemies of our true, eternal nature have terrorized us for too long. For Christians, baptism into Christ, total immersion into the saving waters of His grace, purchased by His blood on the cross, is the only death that really matters and the one that destroys the vice of fear our fleshly mortality holds before us.

Faith in Jesus is that power that conquers all fear, of anything or anyone. None of the terrors cited above can overtake it.

“Through Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1:5-6).

Nor will it ever.

(Follow the Bishop at www.facebook.com/AlbanyBishopEd and on Twitter @AlbBishopEd)