Do Not Be Afraid!

Today is Sunday, February 27, 2022. I am writing from a place of gratitude, heartbreak, surrender, and peace. As the sun rises on this morning, I am overwhelmed at every turn with the awe-inspiring power of God, his undeniable presence, and his protecting grace. The resounding phrase I keep hearing him say to me is: “Do not be afraid!” And I am trying to listen to his words.

Let’s be honest; these are hard days, and if you are like me, you’ve had moments of life that bite hard, even shaking us to our very core. It seems there is sickness, disappointment, abandonment, wars, and rumors of more war around us at every turn. Even this short list of woes is just the tip of the iceberg of reality daily facing us, so how do we continue to live in hope? How do we defend ourselves from heartbreak? How can we not be afraid?

One way to chase out fear is to connect to the nature of Christ within our individual stories. Theologian Walter Brueggemann says,

“The work of faith is to keep our lives focused on this dependable One in our story. This is the one who keeps the future open, who refuses the shut-down of despair, which overrides our temptation to defeat. This is the one who makes a way out of no way, as was wondrously done amid the waters of the Exodus and the desert of the exile (see Psalm 77:19, Isaiah 33:8–10). When this one occupies our imagination, we are empowered to boldness, risk, and freedom kept profoundly remote from all despair. Imagine a way out of no way! We need only walk that way.”

Scripture is also unambiguous in connecting us to God’s power in our story. Psalm 136 shows us an active God living with us in our reality.

vs. 1–3
Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits.
Thank the God of all gods. His love never quits.
Thank the Lord of all lords. His love never quits.

vs. 4–9
Thank the miracle-working God. His love never quits.
The God whose skill formed the cosmos. His love never quits.
The God who laid out earth on ocean foundations. His love never quits.
The God who filled the skies with light. His love never quits.
The sun to watch over the day. His love never quits.
Moon and stars as guardians of the night. His love never quits.

vs. 23–26
God remembered us when we were down. His love never quits.
He rescued us from the trampling boot. His love never quits.
Takes care of everyone in time of need. His love never quits.
Thank God, who did it all! His love never quits!

Even when we feel fearful or tired, we still serve the God who did it all, and His love never quits. Consider the stars in the sky? Can you count them? This same God who created the universe promises to care for us.

Recently, my wife Amy and I spent a few hours simply looking at stars. We sat in our Suburban, sunroof open, and gazed into the skies. She called out the big dipper, and I just took deep breaths and we recalled these words from Psalm 8, 3–4 (The Message Version)

“I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way?”

Do not be afraid! Look to the skies and breath in the reality of his nearness and creative nature. He is regenerating us and making us more like him. He inhabits our stories, and as we choose not to be afraid, strength will return to us. He is near, honest, and the God who did it all … and His love never quits.

Listen to this song and rest in his nearness if you like music. Friends, Do not be afraid! The one who made all of creation holds you in his hands.

Consider the Stars (Keith and Kristyn Getty) https://open.spotify.com/track/58uz0KBTrRh04wey4Kmsx4?si=eaa9b073f3af42ce

Lyrics:
Consider the stars in the sky;
Look up and wonder, can you count their number?
Consider the stars in the sky;
Umbrella to hide in, a dance floor of heaven.

Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid

Consider the stars in the sky;
When it is darkest, they shine out the brightest
Consider the stars in the sky
In every anguish, Oh, child, take courage

Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid
He who made all of this, and who holds all of this
Holds you in his hands

Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid

Consider the stars in the sky;
Diamond in a ring. Over the Child King.
Consider the stars in the sky;
Grace He had promised, coming to find us

Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid
He who made all of this says, “You’re worth more than this,”
And holds you in his hands.

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