“Fear not, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10-11
Scripture is filled with the command to God’s people not to be afraid. It may be phrased in different ways and the reasons given why we are not to fear may be slightly different, but the message is the same.
God is with us. He will be our strength, our provider, and our protector.
“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear.” – Isaiah 59:1
He hears us and He can reach us.
As Jesus is on the way to the cross, He tells His disciples of the coming Holy Spirit. He tells them that the Spirit will be with them and will remind them of His words as well as teach them further. He then gives them His peace and instructs them not to fear.
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:25-27
In Christ, fear is replaced by peace. Not just some amorphous idea of “peace” either, but the peace of Christ, peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). Through the indwelling of the Spirit, God is permanently with us and in us. His presence is cause for peace in our hearts and minds as well as the absence of fear in every situation.
This peace of Christ that we are given is not given in the way that the “world gives”. It is given freely, perfectly, and permanently. Often gifts from others come with conditions and obligations, they are not freely given. They are also never perfect and usually temporary. Jesus gives His peace completely and without reservation.
The Old Testament writers were able to say “Fear not, for the Lord is with us.” Now–through the Holy Spirit–we are able to say “Fear not, for the Lord is in us.”
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31
In the face of troubles and fears, let us preach this truth to ourselves. That God is with us, He is for us, and He is in us. He has given us His peace and promised us His presence, He will be the one to uphold us and strengthen us.
If we struggle to believe this truth and fully live in it, let our cry to the Lord be that of the man in Mark 9 who sought Jesus’s healing for his son,
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24