SUNDAY, MARCH 17, 2013.
FEAR NOT, SAYS THE LORD
This Bible verse is rendered differently by some versions. The Thompson’s Chain-Reference Bible says: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ The Maxwell Leadership Bible says: ‘Be of good cheer! It is I. Do not be afraid.’ The Life Application Study Bible says: ‘Don’t be afraid, He said, Take courage! I am here!’
It is good to note that ‘It is I, fear not’ was taken from the story that showed how Jesus walked on water. Because of its importance, three Gospel writers recorded it (Mk. 6v45-51; Mtt.14v22-23; Jn. 6v16-21).
Any time the Bible says, ‘fear not’,’ don’t be afraid’, ‘take heart’, ‘take courage’, ‘be of good cheer’ etc, it suggests there is something a child of God is worried about. Fear is such a basic human emotion that many of us constantly live with it. God tells us, ‘fear not’ because He knows that we would all wrestle with fear, sooner or later.
Fear could arise from loss of freedom, the unknown, pain, disappointment, failure, death, unemployment, loneliness, ridicule, unconfessed sin, marital storms, childlessness, etc.
What do you do when your fears seem to be winning? What if you have prayed and God still hasn’t come to help you? If you are like most people, you will begin to lose hope. You will wonder why you even prayed in the first instance. Little seeds of doubt begin to take root in your heart, growing into frustration and anger. It happens to most of us. Some of the best men and women of the Bible struggled with doubts when their dreams didn’t come true. At such points, we are not to lose hope or entertain fear. Remember Abraham. God did not seem in a hurry to give him a son. But Abraham persevered until at his old age Isaac was born.
Claim the prophecy. No matter how delayed God’s promise is, it will come to pass. It might be delayed. But it will not be destroyed. Therefore, fear not, says the Lord.
You will then appreciate the disciples and the stormy waves that confronted them out on the sea. Their lives would have been lost. At that darkest hour, their Saviour and Master appeared, saying: ‘It is I, fear not’.
The Bible tells us that after the people had been fed, Jesus sent His disciples away before dismissing the crowd. Why would He do that? Mark does not say. But probably we have an explanation in John’s account. John tells us that there was a move to seize Jesus and make Him King. It was the last thing He wanted. He had rejected such power during His temptation. He did not want His disciples caught up in nationalistic outburst. Galilee was the hotbed of revolution. He didn’t want any movement that would result in disaster. Jesus therefore sent away His disciples, calmed the crowd and bade them farewell.
When He was alone, He we alone with God on the hills. At about three O’ clock in the morning, Jesus looked from across the lake. He saw the boat and His men having a hard struggle to reach the other side.
Immediately Jesus saw His friends in trouble, he set aside His own problems. The moment for prayer was past; the time for action had come; He went to help them. That is the essence of Jesus.
It is a simple fact of life, proven by men and women in every generation, that when Christ is present, storms become calm, the impossible becomes possible and the unbearable becomes bearable. Walking with Christ is victory over storms therefore, fear not.VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.