Updated: Apr 15, 2020
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. - Isaiah 41:10 NIV
We live in troubled times. The news is full of reports of economic anxiety, doom and gloom. Parents are fearful for the safety of their children. People struggle with a variety of health issues. None of this new to the human condition. When we study history, we can see that times have often been turbulent and troubled. People naturally search for both meaning and comfort. Unfortunately, some people exploit these fears for their own ends. Sadly, other people give into fear and become bitter, angry or trapped in a cycle of depression. Fear is a powerful and negative emotion and it can be hard to break the grip of fear. The good news is that there is an even more powerful antidote to fear. That antidote is God who calls us to a Hope that is unshakeable. Explore this Hope Today!!!
The Lord is my shepherd,I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me..” Psalm 23:1-4 NIV
This famous and powerful Psalm is so often quoted that it has, perhaps, lost some of its impact. Take a moment to consider the words. It is instructive that Psalm 23 (and indeed all the other Psalms) never promise us that God will grant us a life free from trouble. King David and the other authors of the Psalms knew that suffering, defeat and misfortune are a part of life. They also knew that God is like a shepherd who protects and sustains us during the troubled times in our lives.
In God we have a refuge during troubled times. Jesus knew this Psalm and picked up the theme when he said, “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine knows me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15. What we can take away from both Psalm 23 and Jesus calling himself the Good Shepherd is that we can rest assured that we are never alone in our struggles. We can call on God for guidance, strength and comfort. Just as the sheep can depend on the shepherd to watch over them, we can depend on God to be there for us when we call.
“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25 NIV
In this passage Jesus exhorts us not to be afraid. This passage is important for the lesson it teaches us about not letting fear that our basic needs (such as food and clothing) will not be met. It is understandable why people are anxious about having enough money for food, clothing and shelter. Economic anxiety is a powerful fear and it motivates us in both good and bad ways; yet Jesus tells that we can calm our troubled hearts by placing faith in God. He asks, “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?” Matthew 6:27 NIV. Jesus wants us to know that God is aware of our troubles and concerns and will sustain us. We shouldn’t spend the time we have in worry and fear but should turn to God and find joy and peace in life. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.“ Matthew 6:33 NIV.
The take-away from all of this is that we can be filled with hope instead of fear. Not the kind of hope where we make wishes like, “I wish I would win a million dollars.” That is a superficial hope and, let’s face it, it probably isn’t going to come true. As people of faith we are called to a different kind of hope. The kind of hope that is based on a belief that God will always be with us, especially in our times of trouble.
When we fail, fall ill, lose someone we love, have money troubles, or other difficulties God is with us. We will all have times when our hearts are troubled. We will all have times when it God seems far away or even as though God is simply not there. If we remember to continue to turn to God in those times we will find a source of strength that helps us to get through the hard times and conquer our fears. Remember God’s promise and the words of Jesus and let not your hearts be troubled.
By: Andreas Jones