Fear seems to be the dominant emotion to all of the things going on in the world right now. With civic unrest, the COVID-19 pandemic, and general cultural instability seemingly hanging in the air like a nasty smog, a lot of people have been responding with fear and anxiety.
I have been one of these people many days.
I look at the world and the direction it seems to be going and two thoughts spark into my mind: what’s going to happen, and how will my family and children deal with this world?,
It would be dishonest of me to say that I naturally fall back into faith and optimism – I often do the opposite. There have been moments where I’ve looked at my sleeping wife, our daughter restlessly stirring in her belly, and felt afraid about the future we are bringing her into.
God forgive me for my unbelief.
This morning was thumbing through the book of Isaiah, not really sure what I was looking for, or even what I wanted to read; just mindlessly flipping, that weird state where you want to say you’re reading your Bible but in reality, you’re doing nothing of the sort. Then I came across Isaiah 41:10.
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Next to it was a note I wrote to myself on June 2, 1019, one day after I was told we would have to move out of our apartment within the next 60 days, reminding myself that I must have faith that God will provide. Out of curiosity, I looked back through my journals, and on June 3, 2020, our offer on the home that we now reside in was accepted. One year later, nearly to the day, God answered our prayer and desire to own a home.
The entire process of searching for a house was full of frustration, anxiety, disappointment, and fear; fear that our offers wouldn’t be enough, fear that someone else would get the thing we wanted, fear that we wouldn’t get into a house before the lease on our temporary apartment expired, fear that we wouldn’t be into a home before our daughter was born, fear that God wouldn’t deliver.
But He did deliver.
Since I wrote that last June, God has done nothing but deliver:
- He has kept all of our family healthy and safe during COVID.
- He has kept us employed when others were furloughed or laid off.
- He gave us the child we prayed for.
- He helped me walk away from an accident with an 18-wheeler without a scratch on my body.
- He gave us a home in the perfect neighborhood and at an amazing deal.
And yet I still fell into moments of fear since I wrote that reminder to myself over a year ago. In retrospect, I feel bewildered at the idea that I let myself feel afraid at all.
Fear is always a symptom of something deeper – fear never exists within itself.
For me, that deeper issue is that many days I fail to trust God first, choosing instead to trust in myself. Look at God’s track record up there. Why on earth would I ever trust myself before Him?
I would imagine if you think back on your life in the last year, you too could probably see ways God has delivered in your life.
Are you still afraid after you see that?
The only way we will ever conquer fear is to place our trust and hope in the One who conquered everything – sin, death, and the grave.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.
This is something we all need to hear today.