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)
Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” (Ex. 20:20)
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isa. 43:1)
Are you like me in that you know fear?
I suspect I have overreacted in a number of situations with my children through the years because of my fear. I also suspect this has caused me on occasion to be self-protective with my wife. Fear has been a part of my ministry at times. There have been times when my view of God was rather small compared to what I was fearing. Fear has its way.
Fear can have its way when we consider our future. Some people may allow their fear to cause them to seek perfectionism. Nothing in their eyes is ever quite good enough. They may obsess about the smallest details of most anything. Such people may believe that they really can’t begin a project until everything is near perfect. Still others allow their fear to lead them to procrastinate. Out of their fear they put off starting what they could have actually finished months ago.
Perhaps you have seen what fear will do in churches. Fear can cause church leaders to be intimidated by other people causing them to be timid, uncertain, and insecure. Consequently, a fellow church leader may choose to raise his voice loudly. It may cause others to gossip and lie. Fear moves us away from mission and toward appeasement. Fear prompts knee-jerk reactions instead of maintaining cool heads and thoughtfully pursuing a course of action. It has a way of shifting the focus away from God whose forever presence was meant to instill courage and hope.
Churches are full of frightened people. Consider some of our fears:
- Fearful of the future.
- Fearful of a health crisis.
- Fearful of losing control and humiliating myself.
- Fearful of having to make a decision and choosing wrong.
- Fearful of having to depend on God and yet not quite sure what God is going to do.
- Fearful of being alone, of having my spouse abandon me for someone else.
- Fearful of having to change (personally).
- Fearful of being seen as incompetent.
- Fearful of failing and then looking silly.
- Fearful of what might happen with a job.
- Fearful of the debt that has been incurred.
- Fearful of growing old.
- Fearful of losing physical attractiveness.
- Fearful of not being seen as significant.
You might relate to some of these in your life as I do. This is simply the reality of being human and desperately needing a God on whom we can trust and rely. God is faithful. So he encourages you and me to trust him and not be afraid.