“I, I am he who comforts you; why then are you afraid of a mere mortal who must die?” —Isaiah 51:12
My guess is that if I could see a report of the percentage of my thoughts that are rooted in one way or another in fear, I wouldn’t like the results. I don’t think of myself as a particularly fearful person, and yet it’s so easy to be consumed by fear of what might happen in the future, or fear of what I might miss out on, or even fear of who I might become.
Fear is a powerful emotion, but it rarely has positive long-term effects. Fear may allow for incredible feats when our fight-or-flight response kicks in, but ongoing, chronic fear makes it very hard to live as we truly want to live.
God knows we will encounter things that frighten us. There are things in this world that are stronger than we are, forces that are beyond our control. A healthy fear of a rip current might save your life if it leads to a wise decision to stay on the shore. But God calls us again and again to be courageous. Courage doesn’t mean stupidity. And courage doesn’t mean not feeling fear; courage means not allowing fear to become your master, not allowing fear to become your lord.
We can be courageous because we already have a Lord, and our Lord is stronger than any of the things we’re afraid of. We can have courage because our Lord is stronger even than our sin, our Lord is stronger even than our death.
So may we be people who remember that our Lord makes us brave and courageous and strong. So why should we have anything or anyone to fear? The one who comforts you and loves you and holds your life in his hands is greater than anything you might fear today.