August 21, 2021

Alleviating Fear

Acts 16:25-34

Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

—  Acts 16:28

When someone is afraid, you can see it in their eyes. I was on a service trip with a group of students, and we were serving a meal at a soup kitchen. A small fight broke out among some of the patrons, and I could see fear building in the students’ eyes. We quickly got the students into the kitchen and watched from the door as the nuns who ran the soup kitchen handled the fight. But the fear that we experienced in that moment was real.

I remember the nuns talking to us afterward and commenting on our fear. While they understood it, they didn’t seem to have the same fear. They had seen all of this before and didn’t seem nervous about it at all. Sometimes it takes someone who is not experiencing fear to call out the fear in someone else in order to get rid of it.

In our story from Acts today, when the jailer realized that all of the prisoners in his charge might have escaped, he was so afraid that he was ready to take his own life. But Paul shouted to him that there was no need to harm himself. There was no need to be afraid! Everyone was still there.

As followers of Christ, we don’t need to be afraid. And we can also help others address their fears. In fact, we have the duty to help others in this way by introducing them to Jesus. Whom do you know that is living in fear? How can you come alongside them and help them out of their fears?

Lord, help us to walk with others and call out the fear in their lives. And help us to introduce others to you. Amen.

About the author — Bret Lamsma

Bret Lamsma is Director of Faith Formation at First Church in Denver, Colorado, and has served churches in Michigan and California in youth, emerging adult, inter-generational, and educational ministries. Bret and his wife, Julie, have two children, and he enjoys hiking, disc golfing, and cheering for the Chicago Cubs.

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