It’s easy to say “I will not fear” when the lights are on and our enemies gone. When the wedding ring is placed on the girl once terrified she would never find a husband. When the son has safely returned from Afghanistan. When the test results show no cancer.
Funny how fear vanishes once the danger has passed.
So can we learn to live without fear when the threat still looms? Jesus thinks so. Do you know he urges us to not be afraid twenty-one times in the gospels? That’s thirteen more times than he instructs us to love! And he never gives us commands we can’t keep.
The Old Testament on numerous occasions admonishes us not to be afraid. When David proclaims, “I will not fear”…he is smack dab in the middle of danger. “Tens of thousands” are pursuing him. To make matters worse, his own son is leading the assault. It must have felt like the whole world was crashing in. But rather than giving into the fear nipping at his heels, he fights it.
He does not, however, fight it alone. He boldly asserts his trust in God to deliver him. He refuses to focus on the fear-provoking circumstance. Instead he fixes his eyes on the only one capable of rescuing him—the Lord, who stands as his shield, his glory, the lifter of his head. That’s what I call s-e-c-u-r-i-t-y!
I don’t mean to make light of our fears. I can get struck with a lightning bolt of panic as much as anyone. And clearly some situations warrant a healthy dose of fear. Yet we must not let it control us. I once had a dear friend who suffered from agoraphobia. Anxiety squeezed her so tightly that some days she had to literally leave her shopping cart in the middle of the grocery aisle and rush home. She reached the point, however, where she learned how to fight back. She began to devour God’s Word. As she embraced the love and truth she found there, her fears began to shrink. In the end, she became one of the most fearless persons I’ve ever known.
No matter what kind of frightening circumstance you may be facing right now, listen to the words of Jesus and fear not. He’s got your back. And that’s a promise!