Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD. (Jer.1:8)
We had the teens over yesterday for a back to school get-together. We concluded the evening a movie. A line in the movie got me to thinking. A character in the movie (former Georgia head football coach Mark Richt, actually) said that the phrase “do not fear” could be found 365 times in the Bible. Nothing else was said about that particular line, but it stuck with me. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there were a “do not fear passage” for every day of the year? I started searching today to see if this was accurate. What I found is that even with different wording (“Do not fear,” “Don’t be afraid,” “Fear not,” etc.) and different translations, this thought appeared about 125 times (some translations had it upwards of 131 times to as few as 117 in other translations). Does that disappoint you that it doesn’t fit the passage-a-day-for-a-whole-year idea? I hope not. I will admit that when I first heard it, I thought that this was an amazing coincidence. But as I started looking deeper, I was not disappointed. I mean, God tells us over 100 times not to be afraid! We may think that courage or bravery are the opposite of fear, but that is not so from a Biblical perspective. Faith is the antithesis of fear. The more that we trust God and believe in his promises, the less we have to fear. We may not understand exactly how God will keep his promises or bring them to pass, but we have faith that he will. God wants us to trust him, to focus on him, to fix our hearts in him. The world is becoming increasingly more frightening from a human point of view. Will fear rise within us, or will we allow our faith to keep us focused on eternity? Do not fear. God is with us and in us.
“Father, we admit that we often fear many things that we know we should not fear. We worry about petty things and we are anxious about foolish things. Help us to look to you and allow faith to cast out fear. Help us to find confidence and assurance in you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”