Be not afraid.
Said God – to Abraham, to Hagar, to Isaac, to Jacob, to Joshua…
Said God - through the prophets to the people...
Said God – through the angel to Joseph, to Mary, to the shepherds, to the women at the empty tomb…
Do not be afraid. Do not succumb to the nightmares under the bed. Do not tremble and quake with terror. Do not be terrorized.
Why not? There’s plenty to fear. Lots of things in our lives today, and in the lives of human beings throughout the ages, are worthy of our fear and trepidation.
Prophetic witness, divine inspiration, tells us over and over again not to be afraid. NOT because there’s nothing to fear – there is, there always is – but because God is with us. God inhabits this world, our lives, our neighborhoods. Where fear is greatest, God is most present. That’s one truth (among many) of the Cross. Where there is danger, where there is loss, where there is grief, where there is fear – God is in our midst. Not because we’re so special – God is in the midst of the human family every where and at all times – but because God is God. There is nowhere that God is not. God is most pressingly present in the midst of our fears and our wounding.
When we let ourselves to be distracted and seduced by fearmongering, we lose our sight. We lose sight of the beauty of our neighbors, of a stranger’s humanity, of an adversary’s heart. We lose sight of faith, hope, and love. We lose sight of God and the pervasive divine presence everywhere.
Feel the fear. Let it go. Look, instead, for signs of God active in our lives – redeeming, transforming, mending, protecting, guiding, inspiring. Know that God is active in every life – in every place. Live accordingly.
“Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.” (Psalm 23, The Living Bible)
Shards picture: Attributed to Dr. Makete/Unsplash.com
Photo by Kriss MacDonald/Unsplash.com