Whether it’s in the Bible once for every day of the year is up for debate. Technically, if you choose to remove context, yes, the term ‘fear not’ is in the Bible some 366 times. Still, if you add contextualization, it is uttered as a command, admonition, or encouragement far less than that. All told, it falls a hair short of one hundred.
Whether it’s eighty or 366 makes no difference to me. If I had to tell any of my children to do something, or not do something eighty times, it’d have to be because I was bound to a chair and couldn’t go, take them by the hand, and direct them to what they were supposed to do or stop them from what they had been doing.
Granted, more often than not, it’s trying to stop them from doing something like throwing rocks into the goldfish bowl pretending to play submarine, but it doesn’t take eighty times or even eight times. They know I mean what I say, and it only takes one time with the right tonality to make them stop in their tracks and keep them from accidentally killing the fish.
When God tells us not to be afraid, it’s not just a blanket statement without the explanation as to why we shouldn’t be. It’s one of the things I’ve been trying to work on with my children, because, apparently experts say you’re supposed to explain why something is good or bad, why something should be done or shouldn’t so they would better understand, and keep from repeating the mistake in the future.
God didn’t just tell us not to be afraid; He told us why we shouldn’t be. In a nutshell, we shouldn’t be afraid because He is God! He is in control, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He is a good Father, He will nourish you, He will fight for you, He will provide, He will protect, He will heal, He is your salvation, the strength of your life, and the list goes on. These are just a handful I came up with while the first shot of caffeine for the day is still making its way through my system.
So what’s the point? Well, the point is quite simple: no one is saying not to take precautions. No one is insisting you should start licking subway turnstiles or truck stop door handles to prove you’re not afraid or show your faith. No one is telling you not to use wisdom!
However, God is telling you not to be afraid, no matter what. Whatever the circumstance, situation, grim outlook, or sense of dread being hoisted upon us by the talking heads on television, we ought not to be afraid. Prudent, yes! Afraid, no!
It’s fear that makes people act contrary to their nature. It’s fear that makes one fully grown adult punch another fully grown adult over a few rolls of toilet paper. It’s toilet paper! It may not be as soft, but in a pinch, you can even use a corn cob if you run out of Charmin.
It is because we have both God’s promises and His command not to fear that our reaction to crisis must be different than that of the world’s. It is amid hopelessness that hope shines that much brighter, becoming as a beacon for those in despair.
If God has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us and we have declared with our mouths that He is sufficient, if we are then hyperventilating with panic at every turn, then we either lied, or we don’t have God.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.