Saying Goodbye to Fear

The first message of the Messiah was given before he was conceived – to Mary. Later, it came to Joseph & after his birth, to the shepherds.

“Fear Not.”

The angels said it over and over. “Don’t be afraid.”

Don’t be afraid of a God who would become human & live with us.

Don’t be afraid to carry Him inside of you, Mary.

Don’t be afraid to be his dad, Joseph.

Don’t be afraid of our angelic enthusiasm, shepherds.

Don’t be afraid to approach royalty in the rough, Divinity in diapers.

Fear Not – God has come & fear must go. It is replaced with rejoicing. With the arrival of God, as a child, in the form of the Holy Spirit, or the awesome majesty of the Father, comes hope. Hope dispatches fear.

We could dismiss this message as simply an attempt to ease the understandable consternation at seeing angels. We could – except that Jesus took up the refrain in his ministry years.

To the disciples in the sinking fishing boat… “Why were you afraid?” To the storm, “Peace! Be still!” It was as though Jesus were trying to tell the disciples, “Your reality has changed. Imminent physical harm is of no consequence to you when you are with me. When you are out of control, remember that I am in control.”

When we fear, we are forgetting. We are forgetting whose we are. We are forgetting who is in the boat with us. We are forgetting that our situation and our options must be weighed – not according to our strength and resources, but according to his.

To the disciples, evaluating their situation based on their experience as fishermen, it was obvious why they were afraid. But Jesus challenged their understanding in their area of competence. “Why were you afraid?”

Our society is so full of fear. We have diagnosis & medications  for fear. We have a whole vocabulary built around fear – “anxiety, terror, terrorism, terrorists”. We fear most those who would use our fear against us as a weapon.

Humanly speaking, we have every reason to be afraid. Gridlocked politics, vanishing freedoms, a teetering economy, the dwindling global oil supply, domestic and international enemies, the environment, our tenuous food supply… the list goes on. Yet into the middle of this storm the Messiah speaks a message, “Fear Not.” “Do not be afraid.” and “Peace be still.”

God’s desire is for those who walk with Him to have an uncanny, inexplicable calm on the inside and the outside. As they view life from their position – hidden in Jesus – they will not be oblivious to the storm. They will be more aware of WHO is in the boat with them than the storm around the boat.

They will be fearless. They will stand out.

“Lord, I hear you speaking “Peace be still” to all my fears. I claim that peace and ask you to set me free from fear.”

Recently I found this  journal entry written while on some solo time backpacking several years ago. It was a great reminder to me of the peace God want’s to give each of us AND how powerfully He speaks when we take time alone with Him in nature.

– Richie

What has God been teaching you about fear? Share your story in the comments below.

photo credit: Jonathan Kos-Read via photopin cc

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