They say there are 365 mentions of “do not fear” in the Bible. I don’t know who “they” are or if they are correct. As many translations as there are, I can live with he generalization without nailing down the specific.
But it made me wonder why. Yes, God would know we would fear and He wanted us to know He knew, and to have a plan for handling the fear. But why would we fear? The list of situational reasons arises, yet the feeling that situations aren’t the deep reason lingered.
And as the day progressed with the thoughts flowing in and out of focus, I realized I have believed the lie that “once this transition is over….” insert desirable outcome here. There are logical cause and effect situations where this takes sense–you cannot graduate college if you do not first fulfill the requirements. So “once this Econ class is over, I will graduate” stands as a real, specific transition that ends. But does it? From one transition to the next, life continues to merge and mold and shape into something new or different or unexpected.
That is why we fear. We long for certainty, yet live in constant transition. God knew we would fear, so He told us not to fear. He gave us account after account of faithful (and unfaithful) living, showing His faithfulness, showing His hand at work. But in the magnificent what only He can accomplish, He took it even further. He came. He came and lived the life of constant transition. He lived in the dust and the grime and the struggle. And in the midst, He still said we could trust, He still told us we could set aside fear.
We can recognize fear for what it is: nervousness of the transition, of the unknown. Fear is the recognition of our limited selves and the unknown coming. Fear is understanding our choices have consequences. Fear is seeing that others’ choices have consequences for us as well. Ultimately, fear is the recognition that we lack complete control.
He says not to fear because He created us this way. He created us to need Him, to long for Him. He created us to need faith. We need to believe there is something greater. And we need to believe we don’t have the know it all. If you have ever seen an adopted child who came from a troubled home, there comes a time (hopefully), when the weight of responsibility that young one held in that former household releases. They see they don’t have to keep the world spinning and the lights on. They relax in the home of adoptive parents who carry those burdens for them. But some adopted children never let go of that responsibility. They carry the weight with them and start to worry about providing for this new family too. Seeing a 7 or 8 year old carry such burdens breaks my heart.
We are that adopted child. If you are in Christ, you are adopted into the family. And you have a choice to make. Will you continue to carry the full burden of responsibility, which leaves you living in fear? Or will you embrace the responsibility of the One looking out for you, releasing the need for fear into the faithful hands of the One Who sought you out to bring you to this new home?
Fear stems from a lack of control. God tells us to not fear for He is in control. Will you trust Him today to be that which He claims to be?