strength for the journey
“God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will Iforsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I willnot be afraid. What can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:5-6
Somewherein the distance I heard a siren. Buildings loomed on either side of usand my pulse quickened each time we passed an unlit alley. I was a boyat the time and my family was attending a night service at a churchlocated in one of the sketchier parts of New York City. We all knowthat as children certain places and situations seem scarier than theymight be for adults—so I felt a bit shaky—you know, like my knees weremade of Jell-O. And, I wasn’t looking forward to going back to the carlater that night.
After the church service, the pastor asked twoof his deacons to escort us back to our car. These were two seriouslybig dudes. I felt no fear with a “church bouncer” on either side of us.I was sure they were larger and more intimidating than anything oranyone we would encounter.
Fear is a funny thing. It enlargeswhatever we’re afraid of and shrinks our view of God. As Christians, weneed to reclaim our view of God’s greatness by focusing on Hispresence, power, and protection when we are afraid.
I don’t knowabout you, but my fear tends to wither away when I remember that God ispresent everywhere, all the time. He has no boundaries. He is in NewYork City, east Mongolia, and the south of France, all at the sametime! It’s clear that David had a great grasp of this reality when hesaid: “Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavensyou are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there” (Psalm139:7-8). In the rest of that psalm, David affirms that whether it’sdark or light, morning or evening, or whether you are sleeping orawake, God is present.
It gets even better. Not only is Godeverywhere, but He is also all-powerful. He has unlimited power, and Hedelights in sharing it with you and me. If you are a follower of Jesus,you can access God’s power when you pray and ask Him to act on yourbehalf. You also draw on His power when you open the Word of God anddiscover how much He loves and cares for you, and how anxious He is toprotect and help you. And you draw on the power when you allow the HolySpirit to guide your thoughts, words, and actions. In 2 Timothy 1:7NKJV, we read, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power.”Rest assured, God’s power can disarm any intimidating influence in yourenvironment!
The combination of God’s presence and power make Himthe greatest protector of all time. He alone has the power to keep yousafe wherever you go, and He promises to never leave us or forsake us.If you’re walking in the light of that promise, you have the right tosay, with confidence: “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.What can man do to me?”
As a kid on that dark street in New YorkCity, I was imagining all sorts of things that man could do to me.
Butwhen those two guys walked us back to our car, all fear was gone! Theyweren’t God, but I’ve often thought that they did what God does for meevery day of my life no matter where I am. Keeping God’s enduringpresence, infinite power, and supernatural protection in mind will takethe Jell-O right out of your knees—every time!
- Whendo you feel afraid? How can God’s presence, power, and protection calmyour fears? Take some time to write about this in your journal.
- Namesome biblical responses to fear. Read Psalm 34:4; 1 John 4:18; for ahint. Practice using these responses when you are afraid. What do youthink will happen over time if you use these responses consistently?
- LetGod’s presence, power, and protection fuel your worship today. Find anew way to praise Him! Some ideas are: spend extended time in prayer,write Him a poem, sing Him a song, or encourage someone who is afraid.