This oft-quoted command from the Bible is also, in a very real sense, a promise. Throughout our lives, we are faced with the reality of fear. The thing that causes us to be afraid may change as we age, but the reality is constantly around. As a child, the things that caused such intense feelings of fright are not as frightful today. Things that make me afraid today were not even imagined in childhood.
What are you afraid of today? Go ahead and admit it there are some things. Maybe not of the ‘ I am going to hide under the bed variety of fears,’ but in our quiet moments, some things nibble around the edges of our confidence. Though the problem is pervasive, the answer seems straightforward. Trust in God. Simple for sure, but not simplistic. Let us look at a few Scriptural commands to avoid fear:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
This command and promise are for when we feel pressure and things seem to go from bad to worse. The intensity of the problems in our lives can cause us to become dismayed. The command to do not fear is not a psychological game of “I think I can..” rather, it is trusting in God that results in our confidence being bolstered by His presence. He promises to hold us up with His powerful right hand.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
God is our hiding place. He is a refuge from the troubles and conflicts of life. The Psalmist says that even if the very earth itself is giving up and leaving, you stay strong in the Lord. Trust God in everything because He will still be there when everything passes!
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
A lot of our concerns in life come from our relationships. We start life with our parents and teachers and graduate to peers, bosses, co-workers, and neighbors. Relationship problems are some of the greatest challenges we face. They are the seedbed out of which fear grows and develops. Turn the relational difficulties over to the Lord. God promised to help us. Often the help is not exactly what I was looking for, but God does help His children!
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
This is one of the fears that come to those of us more mature in age. Some time ago, while getting ready for gallbladder surgery, I received a drug that, unknown to the doctor or myself, I was severely allergic to, and I stopped breathing and was transferred to the ICU. I did live! I was in St. Francis Hospital in Indianapolis, and as I became aware of my surroundings, I heard the first few notes of a familiar song: “Jesus loves me.” I would find out later that this is played every time a baby is born at St. Francis. I have concluded that even when you and I take that last journey, the Lord is with you! I found comfort in this old familiar song, which gave me courage and comfort.
Whatever is causing you alarm today, turn it over to the Lord. Find one of the hundreds of promises regarding fear and cling to it. The antidote to fear is trusting and relying upon the Lord.
I leave you with one more promise:
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.