Don’t Be Afraid!

Bob RoaneJesus Christ, Joy and Peace, Loving and Trusting God

After calming the storm and rescuing His disciples, Christ said  “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)

This post builds on Jesus Calms the Storm

Christians are Made for Faith, Not Fear

Eli Stanley Jones (1884-1973) was an American Methodist missionary. He conducted evangelistic lectures held across the Indian subcontinent and said:

God has fashioned me for faith in Him, not for fear. Fear is not my native land. Faith is. I am so made by the Lord that worry and anxiety are sand in the machinery of life. Faith is the oil. I live better by faith and confidence in Christ than by fear, doubt, and anxiety. When I am fretful and worried, my being is gasping for breath. But when I live by hope and trust in Jesus, I breathe freely. This is how the Lord made me to live.1

Jones summarized lots of Bible truth in that statement. He also mentioned a medical doctor who claimed: “We do not know why worriers die sooner than non-worriers, but that is a fact.” Jones commented: “I think I know. We are inwardly constructed in nerve and tissue, brain cell and soul, for faith in Christ and not for fear. God made us to rely on Him and obey Him, so to live by worry is self-destructive.”2 He is right!

Psalm 27 begins, “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?” King David was under attack, yet he trusted God his Protector and felt safe. Even our most powerful enemies cannot defeat our all-powerful Lord, so we have faith in Him to help us in His best way and time.

Fear Not

Lloyd John Ogilvie (1930-2019) was a pastor who served as Chaplain of the U. S. Senate. He wrote Facing the Future Without Fear: Prescriptions for Courageous Living in the New Millennium. I haven’t read the book, but like his idea. Ogilvie says there are 366 “Fear nots” in the Bible, one for every day, including Leap Year.3 He noted that ever since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, an epidemic of fear has afflicted Americans. As I am writing this, Russia is invading Ukraine in Eastern Europe. It is the largest conventional military attack in Europe since World War II. Aside from war, we worry about dying, bad health, and unemployment for ourselves and our loved ones. We are anxious about our children going astray, rejection by other people, natural disasters, and financial loss. We get fearful about all kinds of personal upheavals and emotional strains. But the Lord warns: “Do not fret—it leads only to evil.”4

Jesus came “to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve Him without fear.”5 So Christ lovingly commands us to have faith in Him as our antidote for worry. He often said, “Do not be afraid,” prescribing trust in Him as the medicine we need to equip us to face our problems courageously. Are we trusting Him?

The Prophet Habakkuk

Habakkuk, one of the Twelve (Minor) Prophets in Old Testament Israel, wrote his book near 600 BC. The country was on the brink of invasion, scarcity of food threatened them, and the nation was crumbling morally. Violence and social injustice were rampant. Habakkuk and the Jews were tempted to despair over all the crises they faced. But the Lord assured them that His loving plan for us in Christ would not miss a beat and that God uses even catastrophes for good purposes. With God’s reassurance, Habakkuk wrote near the end of his book, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength.”6

One Big Reason for Faith Not Fear: Jesus’ Resurrection

Remember, Christ stakes His reputation for His whole life and ministry here. His enemies wanted proof to back up His claims to be God. So Jesus answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and nights in the heart of the earth.”7 How could we believe that He will rescue us from guilt, and darkness, and the grave if He still lay trapped helplessly in the tomb? We couldn’t!

Jesus pledged, “I’ll be murdered and raised in three days….I have power to lay down my life and to take it up again.”8 And Christ delivered on His prophecy. His resurrection guarantees that He will keep all His promises. Jesus will give His followers comfort, hope, and peace. He will hear and answer our prayers and forgive all our sins. Christ will save us completely, perfectly, for all time and eternity, if we come to God through Him. We can trust Jesus to be with us always, even to the end of the age. And we can follow His way of life mapped out in the Bible, trusting Him that we will be blessed.

One praise song says:

You are my hiding place.
You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance.
Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.
Let the weak say: I am strong in the strength of the Lord.9

Notes (various translations) 1 Adapted from God Strong: The Military Wife’s Spiritual Survival Guide by Sara Horn (2010).     2 Adapted from See also Psalm 139 for God’s knowing us and we knowing Him even from our conception.     3 Technically speaking, the exact phrase “Fear not” or “Don’t be afraid” occurs about 100 times in the Bible. However many more passages speak of resting in God’s love, and having peace and strength in Christ when we’re worried or anxious. That may be what Ogilvie covers in his book.     4 Psalm 37:8.     5 Luke 1:74.     6 Hab 3:18-19.     7 Matt 12:39-40.     8 John 2:19, 10:18.     9 From song by Michael Ledner, based on Psalm 32:7, 56:3; 2 Cor 12:9-10.