Light | Reader – Easter 2020 Silence and stillness before God (2 minutes) Reading: Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I have a well-honed ability to be anxious, not about everything but certain things. With each of my births I experienced post-partum anxiety, every time (well, 3 times; 4 children because twins.) For example, I would lie awake and watch, overseeing my babies' slow, sleepy chests rise and fall as they slept by the dim nightlight next to our bed, fueled by unspoken fear. It has been two years since our littlest was born and I am still working through this propensity to anxiety that I have, but I have definitely improved. Now with this new way of life we are navigating, I certainly have my moments where I fall back into those old thought patterns.
But Jesus. He tells His people over and over, and over and over again to not be anxious. Do not fear.* And again and again He reminds me of His faithfulness. I would love to say that I do not worry, but in all honesty, I still do from time to time.
Despite what many may believe, God's people (past and present) are not fearless. But they are courageous. Over 80 times in the Bible, God commands His people to not be afraid. He wasn't just saying words to say them, He was addressing a very real emotion. I don't think He'd be reminding them to not be afraid if they weren't actually afraid. The Lord was not saying their fears were misplaced, or irrational; He was asking, inviting them to trust Him - choose HIM, not fear. More than 40 times God tells His people, "I am with you," with Jesus reminding us saying, "I am with you always - to the very end of the age," (Matt. 28:20) and I think He really drives that point home, especially for the worriers like me.
Experiencing concern, or even anxiety, over very real matters is not a disqualifier or a weakness - it does give way to allow your situation to bring glory to God. I know that many of the things I have done in my life, I could not have done in my own strength or stubbornness. It took the power of the living God, the One who loves me more than I can imagine, to step out in spite of fear. Jesus is inviting us to a life of courage; despite any anxiety, worry or fear. We can make the choice to acknowledge those thoughts and then hand them over to the Faithful One who will hold us, guide us, and strengthen us.
Question to consider this week: How can God be using this current situation to make me more like Him? Action step: Share with one person a situation where you felt fear or anxiety, and how you saw Jesus work through that moment.
Prayer: Lord, I acknowledge my anxiety during this new season the whole world is experiencing right now. The things I may be worrying about are not just on the news anymore, but very real and close. Jesus, I want to submit my thoughts to you and ask you to renew my mind. I receive Your peace that surpasses all understanding and trust in You alone. I pray that You would be glorified in this season and in my life. In Jesus' name, amen. Conclude with silence (2 minutes) -Melissa
* Here are some additional verses with "Do not fear..."
- John 14:27
- Joshua 1:9
- Isaiah 43:1
- Psalm 23:4
- Psalm 34:4
- Romans 8:38-39
- 1 Peter 5:6-7
- Deuteronomy 31:6
- Isaiah 41:13
- Romans 8:15