Study: Think of someone you know who has faced a terrible fear. Where did they find their peace and strength?
Pray: Is there something that makes you afraid? Bring it to your prayer and ask God to give you the grace to face it.
Serve: How might you support someone in their fear right now? Is there something you can do to offer comfort, assistance, or aid? Perhaps it simply means being present to others to remind them that they are not alone.
The phrase “do not be afraid” appears twenty-one times in the New Testament and over fifty times in the Old Testament. These words are spoken by angels, prophets, and the Lord. The repetition of this message in the Scriptures is for a simple reason – we often live in fear.
It is truly humbling to step back and reflect on the things in this life that keep us afraid: aging, sickness, loss of ability, finances, relationships, war, terrorism, violence, self esteem………it goes on and on. These fears are part of the world in which we live, and their power is often great in the human heart.
Fear has power because it preys on what we value, filling us with worry while we fret over what will happen if something we cherish is taken away. That is why fear is a universal temptation; all of us have values, and when we fear the loss of something dear to us our anxiety can waste our time and energy.
We see this pattern of fear when people get stuck in a rut of thinking that leads them to wallow in a mental swamp, endlessly churning worry after worry without any positive, constructive, or helpful action. It is a truly useless process.
Yet as people of faith we are told that fear is not the motivation of our lives. There is something greater, something more powerful, that overcomes fear and worry, anxiety and doubt – Jesus Christ. In the Lord we have a hope that is greater than all fear.
Through the death and resurrection of the Lord sin and death have been destroyed. Christ is victorious and we follow the path that he has laid down for us. This does not mean that the journey will be easy; rather it means that we can face the difficulties and struggles of life with the knowledge that we will be given what we need.
In our moments of fear (and trust me, there will be moments) we hear what the Lord provides for us – PEACE. Peace in our hearts gives us the calming strength to face a difficult situation. Peace in our lives allows us to look upon the world and gain a true perspective. Peace in our soul allows us to see our fear and still act in a manner that is worthy of hope.
The Lord gives us peace. When fear threatens to choke our hearts we turn to the one who gives us strength. Only in the peace of Christ can we find the hope that sustains us to understand and overcome our fear, transforming our lives and our hearts.