There are a lot of good reasons to be afraid.
This world isn’t a safe place. And those born with boldness have one up over those of us for whom fear is a second skin (which, oxymoronically, leaves us more prone to injury than were we without it).
So what do we do, then, if we believe the Bible is our authority and it commands us again and again to “Fear not!”?
Okay. Could you please tell me how exactly you expect me to turn off the switch which for me has an automatic “on” button?HERE
If I try to think of someone who epitomizes courage, the Apostle Paul comes to mind. In one of his letters he lists the dangers he’d faced for the sake of the Gospel (which included riots, lashings and even shipwrecks!). Surely this man, who planted churches and evaded murderers, was never, ever afraid.
Or was he?
When Paul first arrived at Corinth, things weren’t going so well for him. In fact, he considered leaving the city because of the intensity of the persecution. Jesus had to pay him a special visit to encourage him to stay the course:
And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but
go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you...” (Acts 18:9-10)
Moses too...you know, the man who delivered an entire nation from slavery, stood up to the most powerful man in the world (that would be Pharaoh) and split the Red Sea. Yeah, at first he didn't want to obey God’s call because he was afraid. God’s response to him?
“But I will be with you...” (Exodus 3:12)
Or what about Jeremiah? That dooms-day prophet who declared over and over and OVER again that Judah was going to be exiled because of covenant unfaithfulness. He told off kings, got beat up and was thrown into a cistern! Surely this bold proclaimer of God’s Word was never afraid. Well, if that were the case, why did God say to him:
“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you...” (Jeremiah 1:8)
You see, the reason Paul, Moses and Jeremiah did the seemingly super-human things they did was not because they were born without the genetic propensity to fear. Scripture would suggest that these men were afraid. And more than once. But God’s encouragement to them in the midst of fear-inducing situations was always a promise that he was with them.
Fear comes very naturally to me. But I've come to discover the blessing of this emotion is
that it is a constant reminder that I need Jesus. I cannot do one thing without him. And you know what, He hasn't just promised to be with Paul, Moses and Jeremiah. He has also promised to be with me. Always.
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)