- Religion and Philosophy
Fear Not For I Am With You
Should fear exist in the life of a Christ follower? The biblical answer undoubtedly should be NO, right? Aren’t there numerous passages in our Bible that encourages us and tells us not to fear? One passage says God did not give us a spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:7). Another passage says fear has to do with punishment (1 Jn 4:18). However, in spite of all the passages in the Bible that tries to steer believers away from fear, fear did exist then and still does in the life of even the most devout and faithful follower. If it weren’t so, God would have not have said “fear not” or “do not fear” so many times in the Bible.
If you have been tempted to be critical or judgmental of others in this area, remember to ask yourself how many times have you been faced with a situation that is completely out of your control and has broken you? Are you facing any form of illness? What about deep emotional pain and sadness? Have you faced death? One cannot begin to imagine what another person is going through unless they’ve been there themselves, yet many are quick to judge that person or situation and use scripture to justify and cover their insensitivity.
When someone is struggling with chronic emotional or physical pain, a disability, or facing a terminal illness, discovering that life is very fragile is a hard truth to swallow no matter how much faith you have. Upon coming to that realization, life is seen very different afterwards by that person. This is a very lonely place to be in because not everyone will understand the turmoil that person is experiencing. If a Christian finds his or herself in such a situation, it may trap them and they can become a prisoner of their feelings. It can bring many to a point where their strength, resolution, hopes, and faith eventually break down and fail them. If there is no support system in that person’s life, their faith begins to weaken, and fear and doubt can take over. No amount of biblical passages can pull that person out of their inner struggle, hopelessness and depression without divine intervention, and often times medical help.
Why do many believers suffer in silence? Because of fear that they will be misunderstood, mocked, rejected, judged, or accused of not having sufficient faith or Christ in them. Many that are suffering may be living a life of solitude with no one to talk to or confide in. They often live in fear of being labeled or ostracized if they express their thoughts and feelings.
My brother and sisters in Christ, we are called to love one another, not to pass judgment when we see helplessness in others. Admitting that one has fears is not necessarily a sign of weakness or a lack of faith, but a sign of a humbled spirit with the need of a greater power to intercede for them and help them in their situation. We have a great teacher in St. Paul who saw God’s strength at work when he was weak (2 Cor 12:9-10). He knew where His strength came from and took joy in his suffering for Christ. Paul was not ashamed to admit he was weak and needed help. He reached out to God for that help. When we reach out to God for help in all humbleness, our Father will be there.
To you my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, who are suffering in silence because people you love have turned their backs on you when you most needed them or because you are afraid to reach out for help in fear people may judge you, God hears your cries. Do not think you are less worthy or less favored of God’s love because of your failures. Our Father is merciful and forgiving. Did God not hear the cries of the undeserving Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Sarah's bond servant, when he was near death in the desert? (Gen 21:17)
As I laid in bed last night praying, and asking God to quiet my fears once and for all, fears that have been plaguing me for months with just cause, I heard a faint but clear authoritative voice within me that said “Daughter, fear not!” It caught me by surprise, to say the least. It has been a while since I’ve heard the Lord speak to me. Thinking that maybe it was the result of a stressed and troubled mind and soul, I decided to search my Bible.
Suddenly, I found comfort, peace, and joy in discovering that this is how God spoke to Abraham (Gen 15:1), to Isaac (Gen 26:24), to Jacob (Gen 46:3), to Joshua (Jos 8:1), to the Children of Israel (Judges 6:10), and to countless others in the Old Testament when His people were going into battle or being oppressed. God was with them then, as He is with us now.
In the New Testament, the gospels repeatedly tell us do not fear and fear not. Fear was among God’s people then and as it is now. God did not judge us for our fear but comforted and strengthened us in our weakness with love. All we have to do is reach out to him. And if you ever come across someone who is expressing fear, do not judge or criticize, but allow God to do His work through you and show that person the love of Christ in you. God’s Word encourages us, not discourages us.
Whatever your fears may be, remember this beautiful promise God made to Jacob, a promise that I feel extends to all of God's children:
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isa 41:10)