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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Keep the faith: no fear!

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“… 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)  

If you’re reading this column, I want to encourage you to keep the faith! Maybe you’re experiencing a period of discouragement. You don’t see how things are going to work out. Everything you try seems to fail. Or, at the very least, what you try doesn’t produce the desired results you’d hoped for.  

This repeated opposition to your forward progress causes fear. Fear that the struggle will never end. Fear that the hardships won’t cease. Fear that you’re in over your head and there is no reasonable way out. 

Fear can affect our health. Fear can cause us to make bad decisions. Fear provokes the feeling that we have lost control. We don’t know what to expect. This can lead to discomfort, pain, nausea and fatigue.  

Fear can also hinder us from doing daily activities such as going to work, completing household tasks and attending social events. Fear causes us to change our appearance dramatically, suffer hair loss, and develop mental, emotional, physical or spiritual scars. 

The prophet Isaiah opens chapter 41 of his sacred scroll with the words, “Fear not …” He stresses the importance of God’s people having complete confidence in God’s sovereignty and ability to make all things right on our behalf. The Bible speaks about fear over 500 times! Why? Because God knows that fear is a natural human inclination when things are not working, or the outlook of a matter appears grim. 

What should our response be to hardships and crisis? What is God’s message to us through the prophet? Isaiah’s text reminds us how we should respond when we are experiencing fear. 

First, God is with us (“I am with you …”). The people of God are repeatedly encouraged not to be afraid. We have nothing to fear because God is with us. We can trust God to provide for us, heal us, strengthen us and fight our battles when we are too weak to fight them on our own. 

Secondly, God is our God (“I am your God …). This is a divine declaration that God has chosen us to be God’s people. We are not to be dismayed, bewildered or gaze about in anxiety. We are to put our complete trust in God. We belong to God. God is in complete control of every situation. 

Finally, God will help us (“I will help you …). God promises to help us, strengthen us and hold us up during our times of crisis and hardship. God sustains us in every trial and tribulation. God delivers us from every enemy. God provides for our every need.

God has not given us a spirit of fear. When you feel afraid, remind yourself of these words from the prophet Isaiah. Keep the faith. No fear! 

Dr. Preston T. Adams III is senior pastor at Amazing Grace Christian Church in Indianapolis. Contact Pastor Adams via email at seniorpastor@agccindy.org or via Twitter @DrPrestonTAdams. For more information, visit agccindy.org.

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