Do not fear
April 12, 2010
by Rev. Lee Hallstrom, Light of Christ Lutheran Church, Delano

Have you heard the story about the passenger who tried to get the cab driver’s attention by leaning over the seat and tapping him on the shoulder?

The startled driver lost control of the cab, drove over the curb, and stopped just inches from a plate-glass window. When the shock wore off, he apologized, saying, “I’m sorry I overreacted, but today is my first day as a cab driver. I’ve been driving a hearse for the last 25 years!”

Fear can cause all of us to overreact, and it can paralyze us. Did you know, however, that 365 times, the Bible says the equivalent of “do not fear?” Prophets proclaimed it, angels declared it, and Jesus lived it out – over and over again.

Even Franklin D. Roosevelt, at his first inaugural speech, quoted Francis Bacon in saying, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself,” as he spoke of the Depression and the prospect of turning the US economy around.

Statistics show, however, that often we live and react to life out of fears that we have been taught as children or have come to embrace as adults. As we live in our fear, we quit thinking and start reacting. Thus, whenever we meet any change that is frightening, we quit thinking and just react. If we don’t face what our fear really is, we go into “fight or flight” mode.

In the scriptures, we see that Jesus also experienced fear. He talked about His fears with His disciples. He wrestled with His fears, even to the point of sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus felt fear. He didn’t, however, go into “fight or flight” mode. He worked through His fear.

Our Lord knew that the best way to conquer fear was to face it. Jesus didn’t quit (flight). He didn’t shrink back from going on to Jerusalem. He boldly announced His identity to His executioners. Knowing what was before Him; He agonized and wept until His sweat became blood.

Yet, Jesus didn’t give up; He went on to the cross. Although He felt fear, He faced it.

Fear is an ever-present fact of life. Jesus worked through His fears, and He is the one who can help us honestly face ours. Are we going to focus on our fears, or our faith?

May we invite Christ to be at the center of whatever we are so fearful of right now, trusting in God and believing in God for the outcome of all things.

May all joy be yours in believing.