Volume 34, No. 6
When life gets unsettling, viruses run rampant, and economies slide, fear and anxiety can feel overwhelming. We wonder about the future and if life will ever return to normal. But here’s what I remind myself: life will indeed change. It’s going to be impossible for things to return to the way they were after the serious and debilitating economic and epidemiological events.
But in every big and intimidating circumstance, God speaks to the prophet, the leader, and the follower, and says, “Fear not.” When Abraham left his homeland, fear not. When Hagar feared for her son’s life, God told her to fear not. When Isaac needed hope, fear not. When Moses had doubts, fear not. When Joshua was scared to go into the promised land, fear not. When Ruth had no people, fear not. When Gabriel spoke to Mary, fear not. When Elizabeth carried John in the womb, fear not. When Peter was told to fish for people, fear not. When the angels showed up at an empty tomb, fear not.
I know it isn’t easy. Fearing not might be impossible right now. And that’s ok. The reason the followers of God could do their difficult tasks wasn’t because they weren’t afraid anymore. They were human and humans get afraid. No, God’s people didn’t fear because God showed up. It was because God spoke words of comfort and abided with them. And that’s what we should attempt to do with one another as we move through these uncertain days. We should do what we can to comfort the lonely, heal the brokenhearted, and reach out to the hopeless. We should strive to be a “fear not” people.
And so, I think God is saying to us, “Fear not!” God knows our hearts and wants to comfort us. And in turn, it is our privilege to bring comfort to our neighbors in this city. Maybe we need to be more intentional in picking up the phone and calling a loved one, church member, or friend. Perhaps a quick text will do. Maybe a daily prayer would bring comfort to our souls and hope to those for whom we are praying. Could it be that fear not means donating blood, donating time, or donating money? Maybe comfort is hugging your kids more tightly or embracing your parents more closely. Or perhaps it is remembering that God brought us this far and will not leave us as we journey on.
Because fearing not is what God does and who God is. And I know that we have a long way to go until this current crisis is over. But that’s ok because God is whispering in our ears and into our souls, right this very minute, to fear not. “Fear not, little flock, for I am with you and you are mine.” Fear not, Royal Lane. Your church loves you and is with you, today and every day.