“Fear not. Just believe.” You don’t have to take it from me. Take it from Jesus. When word came back that Jairus’s daughter, whom He had promised to heal, had died, people were understandably upset. “Do not be afraid any longer,” He said. “Only believe.” (Matthew 5:36)
Evidently “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid” is one of the most frequent refrains in the Bible. Jesus says it, God says it, the angels proclaim it. Why? Because people back then, like people today (me, for instance!) get caught up in waves of fear.
We desperately need that heavenly assurance. How do we get it? See what the Good Book says:
1) When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3). The Psalmist has it right. The Psalmist knows what it is to be afraid and what to do about it. Sometimes I’ll just repeat that key word here. Trust, trust, trust. Trust God, not all those naysayers.
Avoid the news for a day or two. What’s the best way to get someone to log on and read about the latest developments? Scare them. That seems to work pretty well for digital traffic numbers. Guess what? The Good News is not like that at all. Put your trust in that.
2) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6-7). Let God know about those fears. Don’t edit them out of your prayers. And then add that extra element that Paul suggests here: thanksgiving.
Try writing down those things you’re grateful for. Don’t stop. Keep writing. Once when a fit of depression had gotten the worst of me, I took out a pen and a piece of paper and wrote a list of things I was grateful for. By the time I got to 20 or 30, I was in a better frame of mind.
It’s called praying with a pencil. Or pen. Even better than typing on your computer.
3) There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18). What is the opposite of fear? Love. It doesn’t help me much to tell myself, “Stop worrying, Rick. Fear not.” I need to add this extra element, something to replace the fretting, fearful mind.
That’s exactly what Jesus seems to urge when He tells the people, “Only believe.” He’s giving us a key to banish the fears. Belief. Faith. Love. Contemplating God’s love. Let it embrace you.
Seem too abstract? Look at the good people God has put in your life to show you love. To give you love. To model love. Hold that love in your heart. It can help you cast out fear.
4) Be strong and courageous. Do not fear…for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6). There is something bigger than your fears. God isn’t far away in the clouds. The Lord your God is right here by your side.
And everyone who reads these Bible verses, we are by each others’ side. Never alone.