When is the last time you were deeply, mindlessly, overwhelmingly afraid? Not just a little frightened, like when a mouse darts across the floor, or a cockroach hands you the sugar packet when you open the cabinet, or your teenager asks for the car keys, but truly afraid?
Facing a life crisis such as a car accident, eviction, the sudden death of a spouse, a gun pointing at you, surgery….these moments can usher you right into cold, hard fear. Your body takes over and adrenaline pumps so hard through your system you that can’t breathe or even think straight.
Have you ever noticed that just about every time an angel appears in the scriptures, one of the first things they say is “do not be afraid,” and for good reason. The sudden appearance of a fiery, hovering, light-beams-for-eyes creature would be terrifying. That is often the response they received…even Mary was greatly troubled.
Luke 1. (English Standard Version)
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Do not be afraid of what is about to be asked of you.
Do not be afraid of this journey I am sending you on.
Do not be afraid of leaving your home and your family.
Do not be afraid to do God’s bidding.
Just go, and do not be afraid.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
What is God asking you to do right now that has you fearful? Is he calling you to go somewhere, leave your comfort zone, start or end something, let go of habits that are dragging you down, end a toxic relationship, or in some way do his terrifying bidding?
Do not be afraid. You, too, have found favor with God. He will be with you wherever you go.