“Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Matthew 6:25-28 KJV
“Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, faith looks up.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Yes, I’m one of those people. I believe in God, I have faith, I know Jesus died for me, grace is mine. Understanding does not mean I’m at peace. Grace does not mean I’m not tempted. Belief did not replace my worry. Grief wrestles me to the ground. Knowing Jesus died for me doesn’t mean I’m thrilled to take risks. I believe but my actions say differently. What do your actions say about you?
Acting even when the feelings are scary, risky, demanding is faith. Courage is not the absence of fear but action even when fearful. Do not fear, do not be afraid is written 365 times in the Bible. It must be important. It must be true. And yet… I doubt. Big time.
Waking up from a nightmare of monsters, witches, vicious animals, falling from a cliff and being naked in front of the world are common and frightful dreams for young and old. Yet, comfort comes from a partner, friend, parent, spouse with a hug and assurance, “Do not be afraid. I am with you.” They may shine a light in the dark corners, under the bed, through a window to reassure. Light. And the darkness does not comprehend it.
God is with us. Immanuel means God is with us. Do not be afraid.
From what people think of us to an unexpected diagnosis, from worrying over a child to how to pay the bills, from the world’s turmoil to my beloved country’s major problems, I am instructed to not be anxious. Do not be afraid. I am with you. I have overcome the world. Neither death nor anything can separate me from the love of God. And when I fall into fear, there’s grace and everlasting arms to rescue. Not as the world rescues.
Father, thank you that I do not have to be anxious or afraid, but I still do fear at times. This world frightens me every day. You made me with feelings and sometimes fear overtakes me. Remind me in the middle of my storm that I can be like Peter was in his storm at sea, “Lord, help me.” You reach out. You take my hand.