As I was reading the news this morning, I have to admit I felt overwhelmed. I’ll go one step further: I began to feel afraid. The world today has become a frightening place and, unfortunately, we have good reason to fear.
But the spirit of fear does not come from God.
As I put down the paper, I contemplated just going back to bed and pulling the covers over my head. That would be safer than entering the madness of the world. Then I reminded myself that the Evil One would like nothing more than to render us useless, crippled and ineffective.
“NO WAY that’s happening”, I thought. And off to work I went because (I said out loud), “If God is for us, who can be against us?”.
Then this afternoon as I began preparing for Sunday’s sermon, I came across something quite remarkable. I was rereading the Christmas story and there it was:
The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God.” (Luke 1:28-30)
Do not be afraid.
As I kept reading, I saw it again, this time with Joseph when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Do not be afraid”.
Keep on reading and you will see, as I did, that the angel of the Lord said to the shepherds in the field: “Do not be afraid”.
Do not be afraid.
It is normal to be afraid and it is easy to worry about what “may happen”. But what’s amazing is that the Word of God addresses this very thing and is full of reminders to the people of God to not be afraid.
God is in control. God is awake in the middle of the night when you feel like you are all alone. God is in the midst of all of it — the loneliness, the struggles, the pain and the fear — and God will see you through. God is here, waiting for us to call out to Him. God loves us so much. Don't be afraid, God is with us. Emmanuel.