Don’t Be Afraid

To Abram, God said, “Do not be afraid . . . I am your shield” (Gn 15:1).

To Joshua, God said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Jo 1:9).

To Isaiah, God said comfort my people, telling them, “do not fear, for I am with you . . . I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you . . . (Is 41:10).

To his disciples, Jesus said, “my peace I give you. . . . Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (Jn 14:27).

Now, reread those four verses—but this time, insert your name in each as the recipient of the message.

God is just as powerful and concerned today as he was in the days of Abraham, Joshua, Isaiah, and Jesus?

Do you believe God is in charge: all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful? That’s a “yes” or “no” question, not a question with conditions attached: not, “Well, yes I believe that . . . but . . .”

Another question: Do you trust God to do the right thing?  “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” asked Abraham (Gn 18:25). It’s a rhetorical question, the obvious answer being, “Of course he will.” Do you believe that?

When people listen to you talk, do they hear faith or fear? If they could read your thoughts, would they see serenity or despair?

Behavioral scientists assert that we see things that we’ve conditioned ourselves to see. If you’ve disciplined yourself to see God in control, that’s what you will see—you’ll be pleasant company and sleep well. If you’ve conditioned yourself to see doom and gloom, that’s what you will see—you’ll be unpleasant company and won’t sleep well.

Are you limping through life, worrying (synonym for fear) about everything from global warming to political corruption to catastrophic accidents to hangnails to you-name-it; refusing to face the uncomfortable truth that this deadly cancer is poisoning your faith? It’s not incurable but can be fatal left untreated.

Fear and worry suck the oxygen out of faith. When worry takes up residence in the mind, it resists sharing the space with faith.

God can change you if you’ll let him: “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2). That’s an inward change that God can make in you . . . but he won’t make it without your consent and cooperation.

So clean out the garage; take the negative junk to the dumpster. Purge the closets; get rid of the old duds and put some color in your wardrobe—you’ve been wearing drab long enough.

You choose what you believe . . . and what you don’t believe. Go back to the top of this essay and drink a dose of those four verses again. Put some zip in your faith.

If you truly believe God is all-powerful and that he will do what is right, that’s quite enough to ensure a calm and peaceful life.

Let’s write a prayer together. I’ll start. You finish.

Dear God, Many things in our world—excuse me, Your world—seem to be falling apart. Please grant that our faith may not fail. Help us believe in you unconditionally. When our faith falters, remind us to say, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid” (Ps 56:3–4).

You take it from there . . .

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