This world has always been a scary place but it feels like things are escalating on a global scale. The news reports out of Paris this weekend have been beyond tragic and fear is spreading. People are asking “Where is God?” But He is here, rest assured, He is here. Even his name – Immanuel – means “God with us”.
Why are the nations so angry?
Why do they waste their time with futile plans?
The kings of the earth prepare for battle;
The rulers plot together
Against the LORD
And against His Anointed One.
Psalm 2:1-2 NLT
…Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand
Is 41:10 NLT
I searched for the phrases “do not fear” and “do not be afraid” in Scripture and found them mentioned almost 90 times. In each case, God or one of his angels was giving instructions to someone who had turned to Him for help. The phrase was often coupled with the words “be strong and courageous”, which tells me that God had a tough job for them. A job that would require the person to work hard and struggle through much difficulty and/or danger. We see God speaking these words to Abraham, to Hagar, to Joshua and so many others whose stories are chronicled in the Old Testament. Many times we see the words, “God will be with you” connected to “do not be afraid”. In the Christmas story Mary, Joseph, Zechariah and shepherds were told not to fear. Even the women at the tomb after the Crucifixion were given the same comforting words through angels. Jesus, himself, tells us in John 14:27, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…
Isaiah 9:6a NIV
…and they will call him “Immanuel” – which means “God with us”.
Matthew 1:23a NIV
I think there is something here that we are in danger of forgetting. We need to remind ourselves of God’s message to His people not just in Biblical times but also to his church today. Before we panic, let’s remember that He has promised to be with us in all things. He didn’t promised to make it all happy rainbows but He does promise to be with us in this fallen world and to help all who call to Him. I don’t know about you, but I find that very comforting.
It means that I will have both good and bad days…
…but God will be with me.
I will see both great joy and great evil in this world…
… but God will be with me.
I can call for help and He will respond.