Of all emotions, fear has to be one with the potential to be most powerfully controlling. It can hold captive even the hardiest souls. Once fear has sunk its tenacious talons into a person, escape to a serene calm mindset may seem nigh to impossible.
Fear can be based on a very real danger or a perceived threat that may or may not be indeed realistic. But to the person gripped by fear, what is likely to occur and what is fanciful merge into a mass of pending danger.
Sounds, smells, and familiar sights might bring a torrent of overwhelming emotion associated with a past trauma, painful experience, or pending peril. These markers remind the individual of what is happening or what might happen if they don’t think deeply and protect themselves.
In Isaiah 41, God counsels his people Israel when facing real fears. God had spoken through His prophet Isaiah that Cyrus would overwhelm the known world, including the nation of Israel, taking them captive. His rise would be at the hand and counsel of God.
God addresses the pending terror with repeated admonitions not to fear. It would be natural for Israel to dread what was coming and deduce that God had abandoned them. His words of hope were based in the character, nature and actions of God Himself. This week we will briefly examine the first reason not to fear, God tells Israel “I will be with you.” (v 10)
There is nothing more encouraging to a frightened child lying awake afraid of the shadows of a dark room, than to know their parent is right there with them. They can sleep peacefully, knowing that dad or mom have them covered. The darkness can no longer hide the unseen dangers that would otherwise rob them of peace of mind and rest.
God promised Israel that even during the invasion and captivity from Cyrus, He would be with them. The Sovereign who created the world, chose Israel, and even raised up Cyrus affirmed His abiding presence, even when bad things were happening. God has made that same promise to you. “I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).”
No matter what has happened, is happening, or will happen, God’s promise is certain. Any incident no matter how unpleasant comes from the hands of a loving, good, and sovereign God and is accompanied into our lives by His own presence. He is with us strengthening us by His grace. How does the promise that the sovereign of the universe is with you in the middle of your storm encourage your fearful, anxious heart?