Monday, December 13, 2010

Facing our Fears: Part 5

Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, or Part 4

When the shepherds were greeted by the angel in Luke 2 the first thing they heard was “fear not.” Anyone who sees an angel coming out of the sky has reason to fear. It’s unknown. It’s scary. But they are told not to fear. Do not be discouraged if you are fearful today. We all are fearful of something. Some of us fear more than others. The reality is we live in a scary, sinful world. Bad things happen all of the time, and sometimes to people we love deeply. The curse is everywhere. And Jesus came to reverse the curse. By his death and resurrection, sin is conquered. Which means fears are conquered. We do not have to live as slaves to our fears any longer. Whether your fear is what people will think of you, or that your husband will leave you, or that you will never have enough food to feed your family—those fears find their death at the cross of Jesus Christ. As Christian women our hope in times of fear is God. God is working all of our pain, all of our suffering, all of our fears, and all of our happiness for our ultimate good and joy in him. Romans 8:28 says that for those who love God all things are working together for good.

That means our fears too.

Our fears, and the outcome of our fears, are working for our good and joy in Christ. That is our hope. He will do for us all that he has said—but sometimes it’s not until we get to our eternal home. I may never bring a child into this world alive. The outcome of that fear for me might mean barrenness. Or it might mean great fruitfulness from my womb. But God has not ceased being God. And he is still my only hope in times of fear, even if he never gives me a living child. So I ask you again, what are you fearing today? Are you reluctant to trust God’s goodness? Or are you clinging to him, like Sarah, as your only hope in times of fear and anxiety?

I will end with Isaiah 41:8-13 and Isaiah 43:1-3

“But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, ‘you are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off;’ fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you , O Israel; ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

The flames of this life will not overtake us, dear sisters. They might burn us, and maybe burn us badly. But they will not ultimately destroy us. There will come a day when all things will be made new. We will see this grand hope he has called us to—our final salvation. And we will be with King Jesus forever. God created us and saved us for his glory. To serve him and worship him alone. He will keep us to the end. That is our hope in fear. As 2 Corinthians 4:18 says we look not to the seen, but the unseen as we wait for our expected hope, the outcome of our faith.

1 comment:

debt said...

Oh how I love the book of Isaiah. It was such a comfort and encouragement to me when you were gone. God met me there on many occasions. Thanks for a wonderful post!!