Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fear Not

"When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.  In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can mere man do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4

Boo!...Is That You?
Well it’s been a week since Halloween. And what a fun and exciting time it was for children and adults alike.  Not only can they put on a costume and assume the identity of various creatures, super heroes, sports figures, and public servants; but they also find innocent recreation in the characters normally cloaked in the stuff of nightmares: witches, ghosts, and goblins; skeletons, and ghoulish masks.  This parade of pretenders then makes its way house to house…or trunk to trunk as might be the case, where they are presented all sorts of sweets.  Great family fun! It is hard to believe that it is a tradition born out of fear though, isn’t it? 

I Fear Nothing…But That.
Fears.  Everyone has them.  You’re probably reflecting on yours right now.  I am too.  Spiders, heights, failure, mean people…Our lists would likely be very similar.  Fear is normative to all of humanity.  Everyone is afraid from time to time.  But where do we turn when we are afraid?  When we are afraid, what makes us unafraid?

In the Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion delivered his great speech on courage.  But courage isn’t the absence of fear.  It is said that courage is the determination to go on in spite of fear.  With what do we go on when we are afraid?  In the passage above, the Psalmist wrote that in times of fear, we are to put our trust in God.  That trust is called “faith.”  Faith is that which gives us the courage to face our fears.  Hebrews 11:1 states: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Faith assures us that our God, who has done what he said he would do before, will be faithful to do what he says he will yet do.  How often have we heard our Pastor say that “our strength is in direct proportion to our faith, and our faith is in direct proportion to our knowledge of God.”?  And it’s true!  The more we learn about God, the more our faith is increased.  And the more our faith increases, the more we feel we can accomplish…even in light of the fear of that which is uncertain, or apparent that we cannot change.  Have faith in God!

So confident is the writer of the Psalm that he states: “In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid.”  I do not expect that you and I are going to live this life never experiencing fear.  I do however encourage us, that in that hour of fear, we remember to place our confidence in the powerful, unfailing, ever present, hands of God.  Whether or not we can see how things are going to turn out, we place our trust in Him.  Fear not.

Almighty God, We feel we are so strong.  We seem so able.  Yet we are so fearful sometimes.  Yet you are our salvation!  In you we find life and life eternal.  You provide us all we need. We believe in you.  Help us in our unbelief. Help us to live by faith…not fear.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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