You have probably had people tell you “Oh there is nothing to be afraid of.” Whenever I hear that my first thought is, “Now I know there is something to be afraid of.” My second thought is “Why shouldn’t I be afraid?” Usually the answers to that question just reinforce my first thought! Your experience is probably similar to mine.
Let’s face it there are plenty of reasons to be afraid. Yet God tells us repeatedly to “Fear Not.” I have been told that there are 365 “Fear Nots” in the Bible, one for each day. I never counted them all up, but I know there are many of them. The fact there are that many tells me this is an idea God wants us to remember and it is really important.
In Isaiah 41:10 God tells the Jewish people to “Fear Not” and gives them 4 reasons why they do not need to be fearful. Look with me at the first of those reasons.
Reason #1 – “Do not fear, for I am with you;” Isaiah 41:10a
One common prayer that I find heartbreaking is the plea “God, please be with me or __!” What makes it so sad is the fact that it is so unnecessary. God has repeatedly promised that he is with us.
First, there is the characteristic of God that we call his Omnipresence. That means he is everywhere at once. While this can be hard to comprehend, once you get even a small grasp on it, it can be very comforting. These two passages speak to the fact and comfort of God’s presence.
“Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off? “Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the LORD. Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:23 – 24
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. Psalm 139:7 – 10
Second, there are promises throughout the Bible God gave to individuals that he is with them. These often include a reason why that promise should encourage them. A familiar example is the promise to Joshua.
“No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:5, 9
Another example is a promise made to Paul in Acts 18:9-10.
And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”
Third, are the statements relating this truth to all Christians. One of these is:
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (quote from Deut. 31:6) Hebrews 13:5
One thing you can count on is that God IS there with you. That blessed fact can be a wonderful antidote to the anxiety that can plague one’s life.
About that prayer I called heartbreaking there is an alternative that can be very helpful. Even though I know God is there with me there are times I doubt it. The doubts come because I just do not sense his presence. There are many factors that can block that sense, but there is a prayer that can help with them. Heavenly Father, I know you are with me but right now I am struggling and you seem far away. Show me any factors I can clear up so I can once again experience the blessing of your presence. If the reason is beyond my control, please pour out upon me your peace and that blessed sense that you are with me. Thank you, in the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
Music can often help when nothing else seems to. This song might just be what you need right now “Fear Not”
Lyrics: FEAR NOT: Phil Pringle
Fear not, I have redeemed you,
For I am with you. I have called you by name.
Fear not, Child, you are Mine.
For I am with you. When you walk through the waters,
Fear not, I will be there
For I am with you. And through the flame.
Says the Lord. You'll not (no way)
You'll not (no way)
For I am with you.
[P&W# 121 / @1984 Seam of Gold]
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