ONE OF our favorite pastimes is to get caught up in fear. We seem to fall into this trap so much lately. Sure, there’s plenty to worry about. So what can you do about it? Remain afraid? If so, consider the consequences.
Fear paralyzes you. It drives you into a corner. It incites anger and rage. And worst of all, fear hardens your heart. Many times in scripture, the Lord tells us to ‘be not afraid’. He asks us to take courage. Still, it’s not so easy is it?
It’s not easy when times are tough and look like they might get worse. It’s not easy when the media pummels you with bad news. It’s not easy when you see so many people struggling and suffering. It’s not easy when you see the sins of humankind leaving behind so much destruction and decay.
All of this makes us afraid. It tempts us to run away. So we toss and turn in bed worrying about family, friends, and life. Maybe we shut down hoping it will all just go away.
The Lord says, “Fear not, for I am with you.” Do I really trust in these words? Do I truly believe?
Sometimes, early in the morning, I feel like I don’t want to face the world. I just want to pull the covers over my head and hide. But a little voice inside says, “Wake up child. Face the day. People depend on you. You have a mission. Life is calling you.” And that little push is usually all I need.
Other times though, a much darker battle takes place. An overwhelming negativity consumes my mind. Everything suddenly seems pointless and useless. Maybe I even wonder out loud, “Lord, where are you?”
Here I dig in and return to the bedrock of my faith. With simple words, a simple prayer, I say:
Jesus, I trust in you. I believe in your life, death, and resurrection. I believe in you.
And from there the smoke clears. I can get up and move. Satan leaves me as he cannot stand the weak finding strength in God.
Without faith, I don’t know how I would get past these moments. Maybe I could, but at what cost? If I never knew the Lord’s tenderness, how high of a price would I pay to get up and push forward each day?
They say the struggle makes you stronger, but without God, many end up bitter and harsh. It’s as if his absence makes them afraid to feel anything. As they go through the motions of life, they tiptoe on the edge of a spiritual abyss.
But for those who follow Christ, for those who believe, we are promised a wide open space given to us by the Good Shepherd of Life. The Son of Man did this by facing down our greatest fears; he did not shield himself from the pain.
Imagine facing the shame, betrayal, and atrocity of billions upon billions of souls. Imagine answering for all the sins of human history to bring condemnation upon your head — even though you are innocent. You face a horrific, painful death in front of your Father in heaven.
But there’s something more, isn’t there? Something deeper.
Despite the apparent shame and failure, the real message is glory. Jesus’ beaten body, the blood soaked cross — these are the keys to our salvation. Words alone can never fully explain this. But if we contemplate the crucified Christ, the Lord reveals himself to our heart.
From there, you push through the darkness. You rise up with the resurrected Lord. You exit the cold, dark tomb and walk again. The Spirit of the Lord is upon you. The Creator of the universe calls you His beloved child. You know you are not alone. And this gives you courage like steel.
So despite the troubles of this world, do not fear the struggle. Lean into it instead. Go to the Lord, ask him for healing and health. Let him fill you with holy energy to face each day. He will lay low the giants that stand in your way. He will cast out the demons that haunt you. He won’t let your heart be bitter and hard. Instead he will give you a heart of flesh — resilient, tender, and strong.
Fear not the hurt and the pain. Be willing to feel. Be full of life. The devil must flee from the humble heart that obeys God’s Spirit. So be open to take risks and trust. Do not be afraid of the path the Lord invites you to walk upon. Don’t be afraid to have hope in the future.
Pray hard. Then pick up that phone. Revive that relationship that has gone cold. Say ‘I love you’ and mean it. Don’t just speak out against injustice. Work to lift someone out of an unjust situation. When someone needs help, respond joyfully, generously. Authentic love draws others near to God as he wants everyone to be saved.
And when the tempter returns to fill you with fear, it will not take hold of you. You will take courage. You will resist. And you will face the new dawn singing hallelujah, giving thanks and praise to Almighty God.
. . . . . . .
I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.Ezekiel 36:25-26
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