Isaiah 43:1-2 (NIV)
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. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
The simple words of our devotional title are easy to say, but really, they can at times be very hard to follow. There are lots of fears in our world: fear of public speaking, fear of failure, fear of change or of dying. There are more simple fears as well: fear of heights or closed in places or spiders and all sorts of bugs or snakes. Truth be told snakes give me the creeps.
The world can be a scary place and I believe all of us have some kind of fear and those fears are something that we must face.
The Bible tells us, “Do not be afraid.” Again and again we read stories of God coming to his people with comforting and empowering words such as, “do not be afraid. I am with you. I will not forsake you. You are my child.” In the account of Jesus’ resurrection, both the angel at the tomb and Jesus, as the women raced to tell the disciples, begin their conversation with, “Do not be afraid …”
The women’s fear was very real. What they were encountering was a supernatural event. Jesus settles their fear by speaking to them, so they recognize his voice and his words, “Do not be afraid.” The power of the resurrection assures us that the Lord cares for his people and is with them no matter what the situation maybe.
Jesus death, resurrection and ascension assures us that he is always with us through his Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:18-20). We can have freedom from fear because we are never, ever alone. In God’s presence and strength, we can face whatever comes our way.
Lord, you are always with us. Remind us of your power and fill us with your courage to face our fears, knowing we are never alone. In Jesus’ name. Amen.