Don’t Be Afraid

I watched the news reports of the US embassies being attacked in Libya, Egypt and other Middle East countries… and I was afraid.  The region is so unstable that I wondered what incident would provide the spark to ignite the region into a major war.  The Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons… the threats against Israel’s existence… the agitation of Muslim extremists in the various governments.  It wouldn’t take much, I thought to myself, for the world to be enveloped in a war that would damage the world in ways we would need generations to repair.

I watched the economic news and I was afraid.  Sixteen trillion dollars in debt… a world-wide recession that won’t let up, and worse… leaders who are either unwilling or unable to address real issues.

I talked to friend… cancer and heart disease… surgery.  Families are strained.  Parents are worried about children. Marriages struggle to hang on… and I was afraid.

As we’ve talked about in our study of Revelation, we do live in a land of dragons.  It’s a dangerous world where bad things happen to good people… and where dangers exist that we can’t explain or find a way to defeat… and we’re afraid.

This fear— this panic of self-protection—traps us in choices that stretch from hedonism (eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!) to isolation (withdrawing from most encounters with our culture). Neither response is biblical.

How many times does Jesus tell us not to be afraid?  We are called not to live in fear.  We are called to live boldly in our world, confident of God’s goodness in Christ and sure of His ultimate authority.  We are called to take the risk of love, to engage our broken world and to bring God’s peace to places of conflict.

The world’s message is one of ultimate despair. In the end, we’re told, nothing lasts.   Therefore, nothing matters.

But Jesus says there is hope. Life, not death, is the final world. We’re called to live this message of hope in our world of despair.

We are to live faithfully, courageously, and boldly as we follow Christ.

With Christ, we join the kingdom revolution of faith, hope and love, the only things that last.

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