When Fear Comes Knocking

Here I am finding myself at a coffee shop, with my computer, ready to write. But my inspiration didn’t get the memo.
I’ve had this idea on my mind for a post for many weeks now. I’ll blame it on the Holidays. My life has been so busy and different these last few weeks, I have not been able to sit down and write when the inspiration hits.  Instead, I jot down a few ideas on a sticky note and stick them onto my laptop to remind myself to write.  Well, I’m finally here, ready to write, but now I just can’t get my heart into it.  My mind is racing trying to remember exactly how I wanted this post to go and also that I need to somehow fit my work-out into my schedule today.  And what about the laundry, did I remember pulling the laundry out of the washer… oh wait, today’s not laundry day.
So you see, this is where I’m finding myself today, as I sit down and write this post.  I’m still feeling the New Years’ call to make resolutions and form new habits.  I’m still lost in all my memories of last year.  Good memories and some regrets.  And maybe this is you too.  Trying hopelessly to start this week right.  To get back into the routine of things, but after so many weeks off, what does normal even look like anymore.
Today I am planning to write about fear.  I don’t know about you, but it just seems so fitting. When we think of the new year that is already upon us, isn’t it our natural reaction to fear?  We fear the future, the bad things that could come, the unending changes in our world, and that one word that changed everything (C0vid). We fear the good things not happening and plans we have hoped for and put much stock in being canceled. Fear is just…easy. It’s easy to look around and be afraid.

But fear is not what we are called to do

Never once in the Bible does it say that we are to fear. All throughout the Bible, we see stories of God’s people being afraid.  If you are afraid, take comfort in knowing that you are in good company.  Think of Mary when the angel came to her.  She was scared because the first thing the angel said to her was “do not fear”. Each time we see someone in the Bible who is afraid God instructs them not to fear.  It’s as if God knows that we are a people who will struggle with fear so He has to given us so many reminders in His Word.
Did you know the command not to fear is in the Bible 365 times?  I was reading a devotional by The Daily Grace Co.that stated this (an amazing, gospel-centered, ministry that creates amazing tools for getting into the word. If you’ve never heard of them, you’re seriously missing out).  Well, it struck me that there are also 365 days in the year.  How perfect is this little reminder for the beginning of this year! This means that for every single day of the year there is a command from God not to fear.
Not only does God tell us 365 times in the Bible not to fear, but each time this command is given He tells us something about his character to comfort or calm us and give us strength to keep going.  Here are some verses for an example;
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
“Have notI commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9)
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“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.” (Isaiah 43:1)
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, Ibring yougood tidingsof greatjoy, which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2:10)
“The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.” (Psalm 27:1)
God doesn’t condemn us for our proneness to fear, instead, God gives us truths about His character that we can cling to during the situations that cause us to fear.  As children of God, the truth is that we have nothing to fear. Just like what a well-known Psalms says – “If God is for us who can be against us!”  We already have the Lord of hosts on our side so whatever this world tries to throw at us, we don’t have to be afraid.

When we do fear God has our back

With the fear of this new year encroaching upon our lives, the temptation to give into the fear of the unknown is strong.  When we see the signs of this world looking darker and darker, oh how it makes our hearts shutter.  As I said above, fear is just easy. But God does give us a way out.  It’s in clinging to His truth and His character!  What a sweet reminder and comfort it is to know that our God knows each of our fears and gives us everything we need to live confidently for Him.
As I think of ending this post, I want to simply share one more little thought with you. I’m currently reading an updated version of Pilgrims Progress and when poor Christian makes his way through The Valley of the Shadow of Death, he meets two travelers running back in fear.  Determined not to fail his King, Christian keeps on going even though his heart is overwhelmed with fear.  He walks down into the darkest and scariest road where one tiny misstep would end in his death.  What is it that keeps Him on the way in such a dark and dangerous place? Nothing other than the truths of God’s word and God’s character.  All the while Christian is being attacked and afflicted, it is only the words of the Lord that are on His mouth.  He praises God and quotes scripture and that is how he makes it safely through The Valley of the Shadow of Death.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
This simple illustration from Pilgrims Progress about walking through The Valley of the Shadow of Death unlocks to us the key to facing our fears and staying on the narrow path.  We must cling to God and God’s character for comfort as we move on into our fears.  God does not promise that our fears will go away, and because we live in a broken world, we will still struggle with fear, but as we go through life God promises to always be with us.  He gives us everything we need in His word to comfort our hearts and give us the strength to keep on following Him even when we are afraid.
Oh, may this be our story as we go into this New Year.  When the fears come and we too must enter into our own Valley of the Shadow of Death, may we be reminded of He who is with us and all that He is done for us.

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