- February 12, 2021
- Jessica Fields
“For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (Isaiah 41:13)
It’s a bold statement to a frightened world. And without the follow up, it feels like foolhardy advice.
There is no shortage of fear in our world. Earlier this year, my grandfather joined the heart-breaking ranks of the 476,000+ Americans who have lost their lives to COVID. It sparked up fears I’ve held for a while – that my parents would fall ill while I was on the other side of the world, and I would be unable to return home. As I mourned the loss of my grandfather, I also fought the fears that the same disease would take my parents, or my brother.
It’s the kind of fear that sits deep, festering. It is not unrealistic fear. It is not irrational fear.
And it is not new. We fear heartache and lost jobs. We feel the fear of not making friends when we move, of never accomplishing our dreams, of hurting the people we love. We fear falling ill, making mistakes, and wasting our time.
But God, through the prophet Isaiah, doesn’t stop his message by telling us to ‘not fear.’
Fear not, I am the one who helps you.
What great comfort!
God isn’t telling us that our fears are silly or irrational. He’s just telling us that they’re small. When our fears are confronted by the goodness, the magnitude of our God, it is they who cower.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
Jesus made the reality of our fears abundantly clear to his disciples. In this world, he says, you will have troubles. Trials. Sorrows and tribulations. In this world you will have fears.
“But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
At some point, I can no longer speak just earthly wisdom into my fears. There is room and value in this wisdom, but as fears rise, it simply isn’t sufficient.
I have to speak the Gospel to my fears.
To fears surrounding my parents’ health and safety, I preach the truth that they know their Saviour, and that nothing can separate them from the love of their Father. To fears of inadequacy, we preach the truth that we are made in the image of God, created to do the good works He has prepared for us. To fears of weakness, we preach the truth that the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is alive and working in us.
To the sin and brokenness of this world, the very food our fears love to feed on, we preach the truth that Christ has conquered sin, death, and Satan. He who knew no sin became sin so that we might find our righteousness in Him.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (Luke 14:27)
We trade in our fears for the peace found in Christ.
It is a daily trade.
An hourly trade.
A moment by moment recognition that Christ is the one who reigns, and He has won the battle on our behalf.
This Gospel recognition doesn’t mean that I don’t have the same worries. I simply acknowledge that the God who comforts those who mourn is sufficiently powerful enough to meet all my needs. Even if all of my greatest fears are realized, I am still deeply loved and securely held by the God of the universe.
The God who is my refuge and strength, who holds me by the hand, will never leave me nor forsake me. Jesus wins. Loved ones will die, we will face hurt and rejection, dreams will be shattered, and hearts will ache. But Jesus wins.
Fear not, He is the one who helps you.
“No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand:
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.”