“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Have you thought much about where fear is disrupting your rhythm in life? Can you see the tentacles of fear that insidiously infect your thoughts and actions, even more so your reactions? Fear is rampant in our lives, and certainly in our society today. If you cannot see it, you’re just deluding yourself. I, too, resist the idea that fear is controlling my actions, but sadly, fear traps me more than I care to admit.
Jesus had much to say about fear. He was constantly admonishing us not to be afraid, just as he was constantly reassuring us that God is watching, and cares about the details. So he often asked, “Why are you so afraid?” I can see his expression of wonder at our fear, and his thinking, “If you would just listen to me, and see my encouragement not as mere cheerleading, but based in reality — the facts, there would be no room at the inn for fear in your life.”
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
Try this: place the following words in the appropriate order of importance to a follower of Jesus — feelings, facts and faith. Most of us immediately place faith first. But it’s actually facts first, then faith, with feelings a distant third. You see, our faith will waver, and our feelings will jump in and take control. But if we focus on the facts: God is perfect; he is in perfect control; and he loves me perfectly, then our faith is grounded on the rock-solid foundation of the facts, not the slippery and deceiving sand of feelings.
Bette Midler sings out, “God is watching us, God is watching us,” and the gospel chorus sways, lulling us into this warm and fuzzy feeling. But the song title blows it badly. God is not watching us “From a Distance.” Jesus’ first call to arms is a definitive reassurance that God is here with us: close by and in control.
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15
The word for “kingdom” is better translated reign, and “is near” is better translated has come. Jesus is reassuring us God is here, now, with us and reigning. The King is not up in the castle, watching us from a distance, but on the ground and in control. Now that’s good news!