So be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you or abandon you. –Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
Recently Bill and I were on a flight home from Milwaukee when a woman who was traveling by herself on her first flight sat next to me. I talked to her, hoping I could help distract her from her fear, and when she told me her story, I was given an incredible example of the powerful protection our faith gives us. This woman had a 19 year old son who was a motivational speaker after serving time in a juvenile detention facility; she had an opportunity to join him in his work with at-risk youth by way of a training seminar in Baltimore. There was just one problem: she was from Racine, had never been any further east than Chicago and was terrified to fly. She told me that the night before her trip, her minister and church prayer group had come to her house to pray for her and that she knew God wanted her to get to Baltimore. By God’s grace and eternal love, we are protected from what frightens us and holds us back from leading a fully Christian life. The prophet Isaiah taught us that God will not allow harm to come to us when he wrote: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV). It seems like a gift too glorious to comprehend – how can we possibly be worthy of God’s benevolent grace? What do we need to do to receive it? The Good News is that all we have to do is ask for help. Psalm 34:4 rejoices in God’s love – I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. The hardest thing for any of us to do is recognize our lack of control over our lives. We believe we are in charge of what happens to us, and when we are forced to confront what we don’t understand or haven’t experienced before, it’s easy to succumb to fear. Fear holds us back and keeps us from fully dedicating ourselves to God. Our fears are small, however, compared to the awesome power of God’s love. He will go before us to make our way smooth and will not let any harm come to us. All we have to do is ask, and in the asking, we cultivate a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If God is with us, whom or what shall we fear? The beautiful and simple answer is: nothing and no one.