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‘I don’t fear death’: How Reese Witherspoon’s faith helps her overcome fear

Ryan Denison is the Senior Fellow for Theology at Denison Forum, where he contributes writing and research to many of the ministry’s productions.

He holds a PhD in church history from BH Carroll Theological Institute after having earned his MDiv at Truett Seminary. Ryan has also taught at BH Carroll and Dallas Baptist University.

He and his wife, Candice, live in East Texas and have two children.


‘I don’t fear death’: How Reese Witherspoon's faith helps her overcome fear
Reese Witherspoon attends the LA Premiere of "Truth Be Told" at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

Reese Witherspoon has been a Hollywood mainstay for the better part of three decades and is perhaps busier now than she’s ever been. She’s produced and acted in three different projects that have aired this year alone, with even more on the horizon. 

Through it all, though, she says her faith has helped her find a sense of purpose and peace. 

As Witherspoon recently told Glenn Whipp of the Los Angeles Times, “I don’t have a lot of fear . . . There’s a time and a purpose and a place, and I don’t fear death, because I know there’s heaven. I know it.”

She continued, “A lot of people have these repressive experiences with religion, and I didn’t. I felt this incredible acceptance and that everyone has a gift and we’re all God’s children and your purpose in the world is to find the gifts that God gave you.” 

There are few things in life that can make it easier to endure difficult times well than knowing God still has a purpose for us that will extend into eternity. 

Sometimes it helps to be reminded of that fact, though. 

Do you fear no evil?

To that end, few passages of Scripture epitomize that balance between fear and faith better than Psalm 23. 

I find verse 4 to be especially powerful during such times: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” 

It’s human nature to fear the unknown, and it always will be this side of heaven. Declaring with David that God is with us, even if during our darkest times we may struggle to truly believe it, is still a powerful act of faith. And it carries with it an equally powerful testimony to those around us. 

It doesn’t seem like Whipp originally planned to ask Reese Witherspoon about her faith as part of his article. However, a conversation with her co-star, Nicole Kidman, prompted the line of questioning because of the way Witherspoon’s faith has made an impact on Kidman. 

When we live out our faith publicly, trusting God to fill in the gaps as it ebbs and flows over time, he can use us to have the same kind of impact on others. 

People are desperate for hope and assurance right now. 

Will your life point them to it?