Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fear Not

"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 hand." -- Isaiah 41:10

We've heard Psalm 23 hundreds of times, where David so beautifully put into words that he would not fear even in the valley of the shadow of death, because God was with him.  The same is true today, whatever our valley of darkness is, whatever deep, dank woods we're lost in.  We are not alone.

My husband and I have had both the challenge and the privilege of directing this summer's musical at South Bend Civic Theatre, "Into the Woods".  Some of the lyrics speak to this very notion: you are not alone -- truly, no one is alone.  Granted, I am attributing spiritual undertones here that some people would not, but having jumped through hoops and averted obstacles and overcome hardships galore in my life, I can see nothing BUT the spiritual undertones in lyrics such as these.  "Hard to see the light now -- just don't let it go."  If I had a dollar for every time I've had to think such thoughts just to get through the day, I'd have been rich long, long ago.

The King James Version of the bible uses either the phrase 'fear not' or 'be not afraid' 103 times.  It's pretty obvious that we have to be told that.  How many people have irrational phobias?  I run screaming if I see an earwig across a crowded room, and hide from clowns, averting my eyes if I see one on television.  I know there's really nothing either of these can do to harm me.  But it certainly helps if someone that loves me, who understands my fears, however irrational, just holds my hand and says, "Don't be afraid.  I'm here."

What about deeper fears, though?  Loneliness.  Betrayal.  Death.  Sometimes there is no one in this world who can make us feel better when the one we've trusted and loved is the one that's gone.  In times such as these, we have two choices: pretend we're alone or realize we're not.

"You are not alone.  Truly, no one is alone." -S. Sondheim

I challenge you to use a bible app, a search engine, or an old-fashioned concordance, and find each verse that tells us not to fear.  Find one that speaks to you, specifically.  Next time you're feeling alone, as though the whole world were against you, repeat it -- and remember how much you are cared for and loved, even if you can't see it right now.

1 Peter 5:7 says "Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you."  Find reassurance in the fact that, no matter where you go, even when no other person is around, you have a listening Ear.

Stephanie Jean

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