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In the Grip of Fear

Read Isaiah 43:1–5


“Now the Lord who created you … says, Don’t be afraid, for I have ransomed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up—the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, Your Savior, the Holy One of Israel. . . . You are precious to me and honored, and I love you. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.” (tlb)


Reflect


How does it make you feel knowing that God is with you? Are you able to trust the Savior?


We live in an uncertain time where headlines can bring us to a state of mild worry or sheer panic. Economic concerns, the epidemic of shootings coast to coast, natural disasters like tornados and hurricanes, and infectious diseases that ripple globally have caused worry and anxiety to escalate: Is my family safe? Is our health at risk? Will I lose my home in a tornado or my job in the next economic recession?


Even the mention of the words anxiety, fear, and worry have increased in the news, tripling in the early twenty-first-century years. And all the way back to September 11, 2001, Americans have been under a blanket of insecurity. Though the magnitude of anxiety began to dissipate with time, many months after the tragedy, thousands reported still having trouble sleeping and making decisions, and pharmacists reported increased demand for antianxiety drugs. Ten percent of travelers either canceled or considered canceling air travel (which may sound small but represents nineteen million airline passengers), and 37 percent at one time or another say they are worried about a biological or chemical attack. Not in a long time have we had so much to be worried or fearful about.


People worry about the unknown, the future, and disasters. Overall, most people’s greatest worry is loss: loss of loved ones, loss of health, spouse, or family members. Women today also have a greater fear of random violence such as rape, robbery, carjacking, and school violence. As the world grows more uncertain and violent, worry is escalating.


Yet in spite of the fear that grips us, we can turn worry into wonder and live the adventure of following Christ. In the midst of our anxious, worry-prone world, God tells us throughout scripture, more than 366 times, don’t be worried, anxious, afraid, or terrified. The One who knows the end from the beginning also knows every emotion men and women will struggle with. Although the fearsome things on this earth seem to multiply, no matter what we have to face, God’s message doesn’t change.


Pray


Lord Jesus, remove the grip of fear on my life. Help me to trust You. Amen.

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