3/17 Do not be afraid

Do not be afraid. This directive is repeated time and time again the Bible. Most often, it is spoken by an angel who appears to share one of God’s messages to His people. When Gabriel appeared to Joseph and Mary to foretell the birth of Jesus, he said, “Do not be afraid.” When the angel appeared at the empty tomb he told them “Do not be afraid.” When the Lord spoke to Joshua before entering the promised land he said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid.”

The repetitive nature of the phrase “Do not be afraid” in the Bible tells me a couple of important things. First, fear is very common. And, second, God has it all under control.

Fear is a common expression in the Bible. People as great as David, Joshua, and Moses were afraid. Great people of faith looked into the valley of the shadow of death and shook. People sweated the small stuff and the big stuff and worried about what the next day would bring. It’s completely normal for people to be afraid. It’s completely normal for ME to be afraid to. In other words, don’t be afraid of being afraid. It happens. It’s expected.

On the one hand it’s completely normal to be afraid. Everybody does it. On the other hand is the Lord who provides protection. He has everything under control. That’s why he is always encouraging people with the words, “Don’t be afraid.” The issue isn’t that there’s nothing to be afraid of, but that the one who is with you is greater than the fear producing situation. Take Joshua as an example. Giants and large armies were in the land. God says, don’t worry about it because God is able to protect him. Or, take Joseph as an example. He’s afraid of the angel and the message the angel brings. It’s intimidating to think that God is doing such a miracle as making a child inside a virgin. But, that’s the kind of thing that God does. He does the impossible.

Do not be afraid. While there are many things to worry about and be afraid of, the Lord who is with you is stronger than them all. Because He is at your side you can live without fear today.

Dear Jesus, you are stronger than all my worries and fears. Thank you! Amen.

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