Joseph went to Bethlehem to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there she gave birth to her son. And then an angel appeared to some shepherds who were out in a field keeping watch over their flock by night. And, the shepherds were filled with great fear.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 ESV
In context, I know that the shepherds were filled with great fear because an angel of God had appeared to them. So, that is the context of this passage of scripture. And yet, I believe the message here reaches far beyond just these few shepherds and their experience, for fear is something that we all experience at some time or another in our lives.
And, that is why the subject of fear and of fretting and of being afraid come up so often in scripture, too, because it is human nature to be afraid.
The word “fear” is mentioned 96 times in the New Testament alone. Of course, many of these references are to the fear of God, but many are not. Jesus frequently instructed his followers to fear not. And, what types of things did they fear, or potentially did they fear?
They feared men and rejection and persecution. They feared the unknown and the mysterious and things that they didn’t understand; that they did not comprehend. They feared being disappointed and having their hopes dashed. They feared not having their needs met, i.e. that they would not have food to eat or clothes to wear. And, they feared the future.
Some of them were afraid to profess faith in Jesus Christ outwardly for fear they would be put out of the synagogue. They feared trials, tribulations, affliction and suffering. Fear of death is mentioned, as well. And, also was fear of what other humans might do to them.
So, fear of things that might happen to us, that are out of our control, seems to be a common thread here. A lot of these things may be a given, a known, such as knowing you will be persecuted if you take a stand for Jesus Christ and for his gospel and for truth and righteousness. But, some of these fears fall into the “what if” category, as well.
And many of us have gotten caught up in the “what ifs” of life at some time or another in our lives. In fact, a lot of fears are of things that we think might happen to us, but some of them may have no basis in reality at all. Or, even if they do, still there is no real evidence pointing to those things really happening. But, we humans can get really caught up in fearing what might happen, which may never happen at all.
Other things that many of us humans have faced or are facing is the fear of being abandoned, of being deserted and forsaken, of being left all alone. Or we fear loneliness. Other things we may have feared or are presently fearing are things such as being betrayed, being gossiped about, having our reputations destroyed, being falsely accused, and not being loved, etc.
Some people, particularly around the holidays, fear being alone, and some people take their lives during the holidays because they are so saddened and distraught by their circumstances that they feel they cannot go on living.
There is Hope!
Can any of us really control our circumstances? We can, to some degree, but so much of what goes on in life and all around us are things over which we have absolutely no control. We have no control over the weather or the changing of seasons or if another driver runs through a red light and crashes into us. We can’t control how other people are going to respond to us or how they might treat us or what they might say about us, either.
So, we are wise if we realize this, and if we come to terms with this fact that we don’t have much control over the things in this life that might happen to us or that might drastically impact our quality of life.
So, what do we do with all those things over which we have no control but which we know could possibly happen to us? We have to do something with them or we will drive ourselves absolutely nuts with worry, and some people do that, too. But, this is something we have to guard against, especially since we have an enemy who frequently attacks us with fear, too.
We have to let go and let God! We can’t hold on to these things. We can’t let them overtake us and to take us out. If we are attacked with fear, we have to put on the armor of God and fight off those fears in the power of God’s Spirit living within us. We have to acknowledge not only that these are things over which we have no control, but that our God is absolutely sovereign over all that he has made and that He is in control.
And, then we just have to yield those things over to the Lord, trust him with all of our circumstances, and believe that he is working all things for the good of those who love him (who obey him) and who are called according to his purpose.
We have to let God be God! We have to believe that we believe in, that we follow, and that we serve an all-powerful God, and that nothing is impossible with him within his perfect will. We have to believe and acknowledge that he truly is our Savior, and that he does have our best interest in mind at all times. And, if he allows us to go through bad things, they are for our good, to make us holy, to conform us to His likeness, and to mature us in Christ.
If we are followers of Jesus Christ, the Savior who came into the world, then we have no reason to fear anything, for our lives are in his hands, and they are under his control, and he will work all things for our good, for what is beneficial for us.
So, we should put our hope in our Savior, and believe that he is in control over all things, and trust him to be God and to do what he had planned all along for our lives (see Ps. 139).
God is With Us
An Original Work / June 11, 2019
Based off Psalm 46
God’s our refuge. He is our strength,
A present help to us when in pain.
Therefore, we will not be afraid,
Although the earth beneath us gives way.
Though the mountains be moved to the sea,
Roaring waters abound so free,
And the mountains now tremble so,
We will not fear, God is near, we know.
God is with us and He makes glad
The hearts of all who to Christ have fled.
Christ is in us, so we’ll not fall
When on our Savior our hearts do call.
God will help us, as mornings arise,
To be faithful to His design.
Nations raging, and tempers flare.
Our God is with us. We know He cares.
Come and see the works of the Lord.
He’s armed for battle with His great sword.
He’s the Word, and He is the Life.
He gives us strength in all of our strife.
Be still and know that He is our God.
He’s exalted where’er He trods.
The Lord Almighty, with us still;
The God of Jacob, our citadel.