“Do not be afraid”
You may have heard that one of the commands that appears most often in the Bible is, “Do not be afraid.” This tells us something very significant: God knows we need to hear it!
Have you ever noticed that in most of the situations these words are spoken in Scripture, the people hearing them often have every reason to be afraid? Whether it’s in the face of powerful armies or mighty angelic beings, from a human perspective it is totally understandable that they would be afraid!
The situation we face now is similar in this regard. We have seen the devastating affect of the virus across the world. We have heard the stories of people suffering and dying because of it. Perhaps even we or people we know have suffered because of it, either contracting the virus or grieving over those we’ve lost because of it. The uncertainty and helplessness of the situation has left many of us in the unyielding, stifling grip of fear.
These words, “Do not be afraid”, are as timely and as needed for us now as they were for Moses facing Pharaoh and for Paul on his missionary journey. They are not words of a harsh rebuke, telling us off for being afraid. Neither are they saying that the reasons to fear are not there. Fear is real right now; the reasons for us to be afraid are real. And God knows this.
Finding peace in the chaos
Yet these words also show that fear is not the only option. They show that God presents us with a different option, an invitation to find peace in the chaos. They peel back the veil fear has placed over our eyes, a veil that blinds us to the fact that with us on the dark, uncertain path we’re walking is the One who calms the storms, who can remove sickness with a word, the One before whom demons fall down on their knees and tremble in fear.
These words invite us like Peter to step out of the boat onto the water, even as the winds roar and the sea crashes around us, and to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). His presence with us is what makes the impossible possible; it’s what brings us peace in the midst of the very frightening reality of the situation we’re in.
Our future in Him is secure
This invitation is not only offered; it is absolutely necessary for us to accept. If we let our eyes wander onto the mountainous waves threatening to topple us, we will find ourselves sinking beneath them. But with our eyes fixed on Jesus, we have our eyes fixed on the One who is truly in control, the One whose word is true, authoritative and unchanging. He has promised good to us and He is always faithful to His word. We know that He loves us, that we are held by Him and that our future is secure because of all He has done for us. May He help us this season to fix our eyes on Him and, in doing so, find peace in the storm.