Originally published Sunday, 20 December 2015.
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manager.” Luke 2:8-12
Imagine the shepherds with their look of surprise! It was a night like no other when the angelic announcement came out of the dark night. I sense they were afraid, because the first words heard from the night sky were “Fear Not.”
I know that in shocking situations, fear rises quickly. Think about how many times we’ve heard “don’t be afraid,” “this isn’t as scary as it looks” or “it’s not what you think”. In those situations, our mind tends to escalate quickly to the worst possible scenario. The nurse says…”this is just a routine test, it’s not the big ‘C’ or anything like that.”
She was wrong, it was cancer. It’s true that fears are part of our normal life. It’s a big, dark, and scary world! Just put yourself on that hillside for a moment, now put a staff in your hand, and plunk your mind in the dark. Imagine your reaction!
Now think about how God spoke His peace in the dark. He sent the angels to sing over caretakers of the dumbest and smelliest of animals, in a remote area and to a people who were known for taking care of those who couldn’t think for themselves. These shepherds had to been the most alert and prepared to fight for all kinds of things that go bump in the night.
I find it interesting that Mary heard the same peace-driven introduction “Fear Not!”. After considering that it was a pre-cursor to such important messages, I found the comfort I was searching for. Each announcement brought in a heavenly presence and perspective. Each fear gives way for an opportunity to let heavenly presence come into a place of darkness or change of perspective with God’s comfort.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18
I’ve cast out some fears to move forward in my life and whenever I realize a fear of something, I want to give every opportunity for God to perfect His love in it over me running away from it.
We come away from the hillside with the gift of peace to men and God’s presence, Jesus – Immanuel, which means “God is with us.” That’s nothing to fear for sure. In fact, it comforts me beyond belief to know He is active and sent Jesus to comfort me. Knowing that calms me down from those fears that needs some heavenly light! His presence is everything that fear isn’t and when I remain steadfast in that comfort, my fears are cast out.
We all remember where we were when we received some fearful news or a life-changing phone call. Those moments are milestones that we never forget. Isn’t it comforting to know that Jesus is with us at all times! That His comfort is just a cry away when fears come suffocating into the darkness? That we can rise above those things that bump in the night? God knows what is around the corner and has already been there casting out the fear for you!
His peace and presence comfort us in ways that are for sure sent from Heaven. As He chases fear out of your life and brings His comfort, there is a joy and strength to overflowing. He cares enough to watch over those things that bump in the night and His love perfects them all!
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
So when fear hits your mind with an all-of-a-sudden feeling remember that fear is one of Satan’s primary schemes for crippling God’s children. That’s why God’s presence is so important to remember because it gives us what we need to push past making friends with it. Fear is the opposite of faith, and faith helps you step over the threshold of opportunity.
What will you choose today, your fears or a fearless God? God is fearless, so we can be fearless too.