I've spent some time again this holiday season reading the Christmas story, and I have been reminded of a consistent message of Scripture: Do not fear.
Do not fear, the angel said to Zechariah (Luke 1:13)
Do not fear, the angel said to Mary (Luke 1:30)
Do not fear, the angel said to Joseph (Matthew 1:30)
And it is not only in the birth story of Jesus. The message of Do not fear is found throughout the Word of God. You will remember that after Jesus' death and resurrection, an angel appeared to the women who found the empty tomb. Do not be afraid, the angel said. (Mathew 28:5) And later, Jesus himself spoke the words Do not be afraid. (Matthew 28:10)
The problem is, it seems that no matter what our circumstances might be, fear is lurking at the door–a ready companion. Whether we are in the middle of overwhelming trials, or we are facing some unknown, fear awaits us. Interestingly, even when things are going really well, we often live in a state of fear: The fear of losing what we have, or the fear of failing.
And maybe that is why the Lord knows He needs to remind us throughout the Scriptures that we need not fear.
God is, was, and always will be in control.
Sometimes what helps the most is seeing someone else face our greatest fears with boldness. I thank God for the examples we have of men and women of faith who have experienced incredible challenges with great courage. They have taught me that God is trustworthy, and that when I walk with Him, I truly have nothing to fear.
There are missionaries witnessing boldly in the midst of danger…Families facing great challenges with even greater faith…A man born blind, who has chosen not to give up, but to become a great surfer, and to live by faith and not by sight.
These are the heroes who set an example for us. These are the ones who remind us that the God of the Scriptures has the same message today as He has always had: Do not fear.