Tag Archives: Do not be afraid

Do not fear

Do not fear.

We are told this 365 times in the Bible, once for every day of the year. Why do you suppose that is? God always reveals to us what is important for us and what is essential for living vital and abundant lives. We can presume this phrase is used so frequently because it’s an attitude of our heart and our mind that prevails over our lives. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like fear. It seems more like anxiety or stress or worry or a certain preoccupation. It manifests itself When we become impatient with others, ourselves, or even God. But what it really is, if we take off the final mask, is fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of feeling inadequate and useless. Fear that God’s promises aren’t really true, fear of being alone.

Whatever it is, God’s response is always, “Do not fear.” Do not fear, I am with you. Do not fear, I will never leave you. Do not fear, my grace is sufficient for all your needs. Do not fear, all things do work out for good  for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.

“Do not fear” always  requires trust. We can trust ourselves, someone else, in accomplishments or in things and accumulations. But ultimately “do not fear” means trusting God for what he says is true, for what he has done, for what he is doing now that we cannot see, and for how he will ultimately prevail over every circumstance in our lives. Consider Isaiah 43:1–3:

” but now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Maybe you’re one who finds it easy to memorize entire passages like this one.  Often, for me, I need to break this down into smaller bits that I can grasp.  I connect these like train cars, connected together to the Power of the engine that can pull the true weight of the message I need  to carry from my head to my heart.  The “cars” in this passage are found in the operative words “I have redeemed you,” “I have summoned you by name. These are connected with “you are mine,” and “I will be with you.” The “engine” in this analogy is of course, God’s faithfulness, unending love, and amazing grace.  So I repeat these phrases over and over in my mind and on my lips:

I have redeemed you,

I have summoned you by name,

You are mine.

I will be with you.

Repeat this several times out loud. Shut out the rest of the world for even a minute or two. Let truth replace lies. As you keep meditating on these fundamental truths, can you sense the power, not of repeated chants, but the power of the one who first spoke them into being when he created you?  We can perseverate on problems or meditate on the solutions to our cares. It’s a choice we make hundreds of times a day,  to focus on our problems or to turn our eyes upon Jesus.

What ever the problems that beset us we can say to ourselves “do not fear” because we who believe in Jesus belong to the king of kings, to the lord God Almighty.

Terrible, horrible, no good day?

Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of enjoying today as a gift from God. And it is true! But if we are honest with ourselves we will admit that some days we just don’t feel like it’s a gift. In fact some days seem down right crummy, don’t they?

Some days feel like WE are Alexander in Judith Viorst’s 1972 children’s classic, “Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day.” Do you remember? He wakes up with gum in his hair. He trips on a skateboard. At breakfast his brother gets the prize in the cereal box and all he gets is cereal. At the dentist office he finds out he has a cavity. He gets in trouble all day long and nothing goes his way. He has to eat lima beans for supper. He hates lima beans. He gets soap in his eyes at bath time and loses his marble down the drain. And to make matters worse the family cat wants to sleep with his brother, not him. He concludes that he wants to move to Australia. His mom tries to assure him that everyone has bad days, even the people who live in Australia and that tomorrow is a new day.

It’s a children’s story for sure, but one with a message for us adults. Your crummy days may deal with a lot more serious thgs. But think about it: how many of the crummiest days in your life have you made it through so far? ALL of them, right? A 100% track record like that is reason to give thanks and to have hope for today and tomorrow. God is good to never leave us and he sees us through even the crummiest days. Seek his presence and find strength and courage for even the crummiest of days.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
(Even on the crummy days)

Unexpected blessings -2-

Yesterday, I shared the lyrics and link to Laura story’s beautiful song, Blessings. You can scroll down to yesterday’s post if you missed it.

Have you ever wondered how composers come up with the inspiration for their songs? In this case, as probably is the case for each of us who are inspired by them, it is wrapped around personal experience. Laura’s husband was hospitalized with a life threatening brain tumor. She describes their experience:

“There was a time he was on a breathing machine and we weren’t sure he was going to make it. I spent my whole life singing, ‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,’ but until Jesus took me through something where my only option was to trust Him, I didn’t really know that sweetness.”

“It’s hard to understand why God would allow us to go through this, but I know He works all things together for good, and I feel my new album is reflecting that. Though He leads us through valleys, that’s when we get to trust Him and draw closer to Him all the more. Though I’ve doubted, His grasp has never released, never slipped. He’s remained completely faithful to me. He has proven that He really is my foundation and my hope.” *

BT: Are you at a point where you’re asking God, “Why don’t you just FIX this? WHEN is this going to end? Are you even listening?!” Perhaps part of his answer is already being revealed. As my loving wife has often reminded me in our journey through Leukemia, this isn’t just a ‘detour’; this is part of the road that takes us to unexpected blessings.

May you be blessed richly in drawing close to and waiting on the Lord. Don’t miss out on a blessing just because it comes in a different package than you expected! Look for God’s light to shine into the darkness of your trial, and for the peace He has to offer you, even when His mercies are in disguise.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Jesus, John 14:27

*(Quotes from interview with Matt Hubble, FISH radio.) You can also watch a short video excerpt from an interview here describing how she and her husband wrestled with this issue of waiting for God’s good answer: