Fear is one of the most common emotions in the human experience. The things people are afraid of are as widely varied as the number of people. Some people seem to show no fear at all. My mom, she is deathly afraid of frogs. I don’t know what happened when she was a little girl, but she hates them! She hates frogs so much she won’t even go to a great Mexican Restaurant in town because the name is the word frog in Spanish, and they have figurines of frogs as decorations. It is rather comical.
However, the reasons we fear are not as important as the effect fear has on us. We become paralyzed by it. Our ability to think becomes impaired, to the point we could actually be described as being irrational. This is what happens when fear takes over. When we are unable to use our fear the way it was intended, as a warning for possible danger, we can’t think straight.
When fear cripples us it puts us in a position where we cannot hear God. Every true thing God wants to say gets blocked out by our fear. This is why these words recorded by the Prophet Isaiah to God’s people are so comforting. Let’s look at them right now.
8But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; 9you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; 10fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:8-10)
Verse 10 is such a wonderful reminder of God’s goodness. Just like he said to Israel, God says to us, “Fear not!” Are there things in the world that can be very scary? Yes, there are. But, those things, no matter how bad cannot control the purpose God has for us nor can alter our destiny.
What makes this verse even more comforting is the reason why we do not have to fear. God says we have no need to fear because he is with us. He tells us that his closeness sustains us and keeps us from being dismayed because he is not merely “a” god. No! God is “the” only God. And what’s more, he desires to be “my” God.
There are some very powerful benefits to have a living relationship with God. The prophet records it like this: “[God] will strengthen you, [God] will help you, [God] will uphold you by [his] righteous right hand.” Amen and amen to this great promise.
As we draw this first full week of Lent to a close, I want to remind you that our God is with us and that he has given us so many reasons to not fear.