FACING THE FEAR
“‘I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.’”
Jesus, recorded in, John 16:33 esvbible.org
A lot of fear around right now.
But not for Jesus when He spoke these words.
No doubt. No denial. No disregard. No desertion.
Jesus said these words shortly before He prayed, “Your will be done”. Then He was arrested, humiliated, beaten, passed between morally vacuous officials, tried, convicted, tortured, crucified, and buried, all in less than 24 hours.
He tells His followers, those with Him then, and those of us who follow Him now, to trust Him. Regardless of what has happened, regardless of what is happening now, and regardless of what we think is about to happen, there is good news coming.
Witnessing what took place over the next few hours, could any of us really judge the disciples as they registered doubt, and denial, and disregard, and chose desertion, which is what they all did?
But, we live on this side of the resurrection. We live in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. We live with the knowledge and the conviction of the reality of the resurrection, and the victory of God over sin and death and despair.
Today we live on this side of unfathomable terrorist attacks, this week remembering the horrific one in Paris one year ago, and we live on this side of what some think is a nation-rendering election in the United Sates.
All of a sudden we fear, and maybe we pray.
All of a sudden we fear, and maybe we pray, but we can’t help doubting, because we fear.
Fear distracts us.
Fear debilitates us.
Fear disables us.
Fear can destroy us.
How? Why? Who? And the equally uncomfortable, where and when the next time? All fear-feeding questions.
People motivated by evil have done, do, and will do evil things, and many die, many are injured, many are maimed, and many, many more suffer because of evil and fear of evil.
We ask serious questions.
* We ask why God doesn’t save everyone, when the real point is, why does God save anyone?
* We ask why am I going through this, when the better question is, how am I going through this?
* We ask why things happen that aren’t fair, when the point is not about fairness. The point is grace.
Jesus, when He said these words, was about to experience all of the worst things. Pain, degradation, agony, and death. Yet, He still says we are to take heart, because everything He is about to undergo will overcome the world. Here is the perspective Jesus had, which must now be ours as well.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1–2)
This is what John wrote about His coming:
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
And this about our faith:
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.”
(1 John 5:4)
There is evil at work in the world.
And so, we fear, and usually our fear is fruitless.
Much better that we we pray, and then we pray some more, and then we read the Bible, and then we read the Bible some more, and then we pray some more.
With prayer and reading the Bible there is also much to be done in confronting evil, but not to be done in fear, but in the strength and power of our almighty, sovereign and omnipotent God.
Take heart! Fear not!
Soli Deo gloria!