"Fear or Faith?"
August 3, 2014
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." Isaiah 43:1-2
Is your life one of fear or faith?
That's a good question, and most people will assume this devotion will immediately speak against all kinds of fear. But we're not going to do that. We're not because proper fear is a gift from God, which keeps us safe. Not all fear is bad. A small child needs to have a proper fear of automobiles and traffic. Adults who plunge rashly into fearful situations rarely come to a happy ending. Proper fear stops us from saying things we shouldn't say and doing deeds that are downright dangerous.
But fear loses its godly purpose when it cripples us and rules us with an iron hand.
Did you ever pick up a robin or sparrow that had fallen out of its nest? As you held it in your hand, you remember the rapid, terrified beating of its heart. You were trying to help, but the bird's fear wouldn't let him trust you. That kind of fear is sad when it comes to a sparrow, but it's horrible when it keeps a human from the help the Lord freely offers to us through the suffering, sacrifice and victory of His Son.
So, is your life one of fear or faith?
When Adam and Eve took a bite from the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, fear was served up for dessert. In the New Testament we see many who were touched by fear. Since that is the case, it's not surprising angels almost always begin their announcements by saying: "Fear not." Mary heard those words, along with the announcement she would give birth to the world's Savior. The women at Jesus' empty tomb heard the angel change the world with the words, "Do not be afraid, He is risen" (see Matthew 28:1-10).
Now, it's quite possible you are living a life that is twisted by fear. Trapped by terrors both real and imagined, you may find yourself traumatized by unrealized dreams, dashed hopes, difficulties of body, mind and soul, tensions at work, insecurities, past sins, indiscretions, and the possibility of future failure.
There seems to be no escape.
Now I don't know the fear that robs you of sleep or makes your stomach lurch and your palms sweat. I don't know what fear you keep buried deep down inside. No, I don't know your fear, but I do know whatever your terror, trauma, trouble, trial and tribulation, Jesus is there.
Yes, the risen Redeemer is there and He is ready.
He is ready to take your trembling hand, prepared to listen to your frightened confession, eager to help you carry your fearsome burdens. In Jesus, Isaiah's words have found fulfillment. When Jesus redeems us and calls us by name, we will not be overwhelmed as we pass through the waters, nor will we be burned or consumed by the flame. It is all because -- in Jesus -- our lives can be free from fear.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks my life has been radically changed through the presence of my Redeemer. Now may I be empowered to turn my fears over to Him and confidently believe Him when He assures us we should fear not. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries