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Do Not Be Afraid!

Scripture

Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. Isaiah 43:2

A Word of Hope

You know, of course, that some of the most common words of scripture are: "Do not be afraid." I know for most of us that is easier said than done. Still, if I were to pick a phrase that I believe could be considered the "mantra" of our holy scriptures it would be, "Do not be afraid."

I've often wondered if God had angels and prophets begin their pronouncements with these words because they were getting ready to bring really challenging news or just the appearance of angels or the prophets speaking with the voice of God were enough to scare the pants off everyone.

Still, they are words we would do well to write on the mantle of our doorways and on the mantle of our hearts: "Do not be afraid." I actually believe that the angels and prophets speak these words to the people before major pronouncements because they are just good theology. To set aside fear and to live unafraid say something powerful about one's trust of God and one's relationship with God. It means that you are ready to believe at the core of your being that God has, in fact, called you by name and that you do, in fact, belong to God. However, to put your trust in God does not mean that you believe that life will be a "cake walk." Rather it means that you are willing to trust God even in your darkest hour, even when the rivers of difficulty threaten to drown you.

I recently heard a preacher speak and he reminded all of us present that the work of God and the church are not easy. They are hard and if you choose to follow in the way of Jesus, you are sure to meet with challenging and difficult situations. He asked us, "Why would you think for a minute that our faith tradition, founded by an itinerant rabbi, who was executed on a cross, would be easy?" No, the way of following Jesus is not easy, but the promise is always true: You and I are named and claimed by God, and God would do anything to win our hearts. Moreover, God promises to be with us even in the most difficult situations, even when we think we are drowning - maybe that is why the angels and prophets always begin by saying, "Do not be afraid."

The question is, can you trust this God of love enough to live without fear and live with faith? It may take a minute by minute assessment of your life to hold your fear in check, but to do so means that you live freely in the promise of the one who loves you most and best. That seems like Good News to me. I hope it is for you as well.

Prayer
Holy One, whisper to me once again that I am yours. Amen.

Devotion Author
Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson
Rector & Senior Pastor
Cathedral of Hope
Aug 7, 2008
Used with Permission