“Do not be afraid. Fear not.” That word from God to humans appears 365 times in the Bible. Is that a coincidence? For each and every day in the year – 365 times – God tells us not to be afraid. And yet, we are afraid.
When we are born, in our purest state, formed by God and carried in the safety of our mother’s womb, we are only afraid of two things. The only fears we have as a newborn are instinctual. We are afraid of loud noises, and we are afraid of falling. That’s it. The rest of our rational fears come to us by our human experience. We should be a little afraid to cross a busy highway, or to swim too far from shore. Rational fears may keep us alive.
But many of our fears are irrational. They are taught to us by professional worriers, or we catch them like the plague from media sources or politicians who peddle fear. Volcanoes, terrorists, pandemics, airplane crashes, spiders and snakes are real, but they are not a real threat to you. Even death, which will come to all of us, is not to be feared. I have been there; it is far more peaceful than scary.
Is it a coincidence that God tells us 365 times not to be afraid? I don’t know, but the theme is not an accident. The God who created us, knows that we are easily given over to our fears. We are afraid and the fear that can keep us alive, can also keep us from living. Fear, in the right measure, can protect us but when fear is unchecked it can enslave us.
I know that the world seems to be crazy, fragile and dangerous right now. Spend too much time watching the news and you will be convinced that things are worse now than they have ever been. In reality, that is simply not the case. This longing for the good old days is romantic recall; nothing more. The truth is, on most days, most of the people in the world live in peace; their days are routine, unremarkable, not affected by corrupt politicians or natural disasters.
What now? Should we work for peace? Should we advocate for justice? Should we address climate change? Should we be a voice for the voiceless? Should we be concerned for marginalized or oppressed populations? Should we demand that our politicians be honest and faithful? Should we vote? The answer to all of the above is YES!
Be energized by your calling to follow Jesus. Be energized to positive action – do not be paralyzed by your fear.
“Do not be afraid. Fear not.” Repeat 365 times, and I will see you this Sunday!