Do not fear.
This is the Scriptures’ most frequent command. Clearly, God knew fear would be a substantial problem for us. The past five months have revealed just that. Our fear of COVID, social unrest, and political outcomes have been the chief presenting symptom indicating an underlying disease. I would contend that for the past five months God has been conducting a PET scan and it’s revealed a cancer among American evangelicals. The cancer of unbelief which is the taproot that feeds and nourishes fear. If we cut away all the Christian-speak, platitudes, and excuses, American evangelicals have a fundamental distrust in God’s plan for our lives. “…all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Ps. 139:16). We would much prefer our days to have been written in our book. At least then, they would be controllable. But as the verse reads, God calls the shots and we’re uneasy about that.
In the end, I believe God revealing the sin of unbelief to us will prove to be a great mercy. Without these past five months, we may have continued on assuming everything is just fine not knowing we’re suffering from a debilitating spiritual disease. But now that he’s allowed us to come face to face with a diagnosis, we have a responsibility to seek treatment. Many already are. It’s been refreshing to hear personal stories of the Lord challenging individuals to press into the things that have caused them great fear in the past and stepping out in faith knowing their lives are not their own. May we all grow in that direction!
In order to do so, we need to come to grips with the true nature of the problem because getting that right is the prerequisite to a solution that actually works. This is the terrain we’ll be covering in the posts to come.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9