Do Not Be Afraid


Today I focus not on one text from the bible, but on four words that I encounter over and over again.  Those words are: “Do not be afraid.”  The number of times these words appear in the bible depends on which translation you read, but it seems as though every time I look to the bible for guidance or comfort, there they are.  And isn’t that one of the biggest reasons we turn to the bible in the first place?  For the simple reassurance that God is with us and we need not be afraid?  So often it is easy to fall into the trap of fearing that we are not good enough, or worthy enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough, or that our lives have no meaning.  Other times we worry that we will become sick and die, or not have enough to eat, or that a natural disaster may come and wipe us out.  So we react to our fears in a myriad of self-destructive ways such as heavy drinking, overeating, compulsive shopping or maybe runaway gambling.  But the main thrust behind Jesus’ message, indeed behind the entire biblical message, is that of God’s love for us and God’s desire that we not live our lives captive to our fears.  How much more could I do in my life if I were not so driven by my fears?  Faith is what calms the storms of our fears, and life is a journey of faith.  As we nurture our faith and tend to it carefully, we learn to lay aside our fears and taste salvation right here, right now.  There will always be times when fear creeps into my heart, but when it does I know I can open the bible and be reminded by those age-old words, “Do no be afraid.”


God of comfort and mercy, help me to remember to keep my focus on you, and to put aside my fears as I grow in my faith.  Amen


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