Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
What scares you? When we ask children this question, they will often mention fear of the dark, or spiders, or getting lost. Teens and adults are more experienced and tend to mention bigger risks, such as mass shootings, a natural disaster (often called an “act of God”), or anything that could rob us of life—either our own or that of a loved one.
Our Creator God knows how we are made and how fear can cripple us. In the Bible the message “Do not fear” occurs some 365 times, in one phrasing or another. The prophet Isaiah, speaking God’s words to God’s chosen people, encourages Israel to trust God—even though they will suffer in captivity—and not to fear, because God has an amazing rescue plan.
When we lose our job, learn that we have a serious illness, face a big financial loss, or watch a family member make dangerous choices, we naturally experience fear for the future. What is going to happen to us—or to them? How will we get through this?
God’s words in Isaiah invite us to look at the big picture, the overarching story. Our God promises, in effect, “I am with you; I am your God; I will strengthen you and help you. My right hand will take hold of your right hand, so do not be dismayed.”
Great I am, how can we ever be afraid, knowing all that you have done and promised? Calm our fears, increase our trust, and help us to loosen our worried grip and let your hand take ours. Amen.
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