Words of Grace
I am not afraid.
But I am! I am afraid of lots of things: the future, driving, tests, failure as a parent, getting mugged, health problems, death. Sometimes my fear stops me from doing anything. Sometimes it just occupies my thoughts and takes away my joy. But, to be honest, it’s almost always there. How can I not be afraid?
When someone tells us not to be afraid, as though it were a simple thing to do, they either miss the point of what’s happening in our hearts or they don’t care. Emotions are difficult to turn on and off, particularly negative ones. It isn’t as though we want to be afraid.
I think this is why the Scripture talks so much about living in the light. The darkness holds our fears. Not knowing, or knowing just part of the truth or believing lies—those are the things that give strength to our fears. When the light shines on our situation, we often find that there really was nothing to fear.
We all know that turning the light on in the room chases away the things that seem to lurk in the shadows. But what if we turn on the light and something really scary is standing there? We understand that many of the fears that trouble us are not real. They are fantasies or misunderstandings or lies. But not everything that frightens us is false. We do face financial difficulties, health problems, relationship stresses, and more. These things are real and challenging. The pain and trouble they bring to us are things we would certainly like to avoid.
But do we need to be afraid of them? That’s the question.
And the answer is, “No!”
Most of us have a healthy fear of pain, but we understand it and accept it as part of our lives. The same is true with most of our minor fears. But the biggest fear we face is damage or change to our identity. “Will I be the same after x happens?” Losing a job or a loved one or a home—what we fear most in these things is the change in us. Will weakness steal my security or joy or confidence? Will I have to become a different person?
That’s why I like to teach about identity. As long as my identity is based on what I do or my life situation, then my identity is always at risk. When my identity is secure in Jesus, it will not change. I will not change because He who is my life will not change. Minor changes will happen, of course, but who I am in Christ will never change.
Everything in this world is outside my relationship with Jesus. Inside that relationship there is security and peace forever. He is my strength. He is my hope. He is my peace.
I will not be afraid of what people can do to me or of what the world around me can do. I will not be afraid of the changes time will bring. I will not be afraid of my weaknesses. I will look to Him and remember my peace.
Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Psalm 46:2-3 (NKJV)