Thursday, April 14, 2016

Do Not Be Afraid

“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.” (John 14:27 NIV)

When the Scriptures talk a lot about a certain topic, you can be sure it reveals something about us, or God, or both.  For example, the word “remember” is used countless times.  Could it be that we have difficulty remembering God’s faithfulness or love?  Or the word “obey.”  It appears quite frequently.  Could it be that we have a rebellious streak deep within us?

The Scriptures also speak a lot about fear.  Fear of God, which is the healthy kind, and fear of people and circumstances, which is usually detrimental to us.  Jesus, in speaking to His disciples, is talking about the latter and He has a simple message: “Do not be afraid.”  

In talking with students on campus in recent weeks, I have heard many expressions of fear.  Fear of the future as many prepare to graduate without concrete plans or to embark on post-college life; fear of disapproval from parents or others when deciding to follow the leading of the Lord; fear of stepping out in faith to trust the Lord for His provision.  Being afraid is something common to us all.  This is why the Scriptures give this explicit assurance more than 100 times—do not be afraid.  

Do not be afraid because the Lord is in control.  He is the Shepherd who leads you. (I Peter 5:4)   He knows the plans He has for you. (Jeremiah 29:11)  He has overcome the world. (John 16:33)  There is no need to fear.

I have experienced fear many times in my life, such as when my parents died when I was in my early 20’s, when my first wife left me, and when I resigned from a long-held ministry position without any prospects of another.  Fear attempted to get its grip on me, but I heeded the comforting words of Jesus: Do not be afraid.  And, as it always does when we trust the Lord, everything worked out.  It wasn’t always easy, but God always came through.  He always will.

Today, what do you fear?  Whatever it is, know the Lord has everything under control.  He will lead you through it. Let His reassuring words envelop your spirit: Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

© Jim Musser 2016

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