Fear

Fear is one of the great weapons of the evil one.

Christians are as much victims of fear as anyone.

But God tells us that we are not to be afraid because he is with us (Isaiah 41:10).

I have been thinking of this because I have spoken with people who have fears – fears about world affairs, fears about the future of loved ones, fears about themselves.

I am not immune from fears myself.  But I am gradually learning to place myself in the hands of God.

Often, fear is about something that hasn’t yet happened – but could happen.

I have a friend who is worried about possible terrorist action in Canada.  And another is deeply concerned about what the world will be like for his grandchildren when they become adults.

Both have good reasons for these fears.  It is entirely possible that terrible things will happen in our country and the world.

But Jesus had something to say about this.

In John 16, he says: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart because I have overcome the world.”

What does he mean?  I believe he is saying that, whatever happens, Jesus is triumphant.  Evil will ultimately lose – God’s love will win.

Jesus says in Matthew 10 that his disciples will face trials and flogging for his sake.  But they are not to worry about what to say for the Holy Spirit will give them the words to say.

Jesus is counting on his followers to be wholly dedicated to him and to what God wants in our world.  Such disciples will be equipped by God to confront whatever troubles they face.

I think of a vivid illustration of what it means to grapple with fear.

In Matthew 14, Jesus walks on water toward the disciples who are being tossed about in a boat in heavy seas.  They are terrified at the sight of him coming toward them – walking on the waves.

As I read this, I share their terror.  It is unnatural – supernatural.

But seeing their great fear, Jesus says: “Don’t be afraid.  Take courage. I am here!”

In my mind, that is the vital element in fighting fear – trusting that Jesus is with me.

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