Don’t Be Afraid!


“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (1 Kings 6:16)

From time to time as I go through life, I get shaken up by something that I think should not happen: a loved one struggles with a problem that I cannot help them fix; an unkind word or action from someone sends me spinning into a spiral of anxiety and self-doubt; or the challenges I face at work are far greater than my abilities to solve them. And as I think upon these things, I realize that I have been believing a lie:

Lie # 1: If I trust in Jesus, I won’t have problems in my life.

In addition to the warnings of hardship and persecution that Jesus gave to his followers on the night before he was crucified, Jesus also said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

When I forget, in the face of challenges, what Jesus said, I jump from the first lie to a second, just as devastating, lie:

Lie # 2: I am on my own and I have to fix this problem myself.

In 2 Kings 6, when the army of the Arameans surrounded the city of Dothan to capture Elisha, Elisha’s servant was believing this same lie when he said, “Oh no, my Lord! What shall we do?”…
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 
(2 Kings 6:15-17)

We are going to have trouble in this life: trouble that is beyond our God-given abilities to handle. But in Jesus, we have Someone with us who is far greater and more powerful than the horses and chariots of fire that surrounded Elisha and his servant to protect them.

Jesus died on the cross and rose again so that there would be nothing, not even death, that would come between us and him. Jesus gives us a supernatural peace for he has overcome all evil and ushered into reality, with his own resurrection, a New Creation that exists alongside the broken, Old Creation. Even better, the former will bloom into all fullness when the latter passes away. In the meantime, Jesus fills us with the Holy Spirit to empower us to expand the New Creation in the territory of the Old. Our hope is not in the Old Creation, but in the New. And we have peace because we know that Jesus is faithfully at work in us and in the world helping us grow as New Creation People (see 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Reflection: What is a way to remind yourself of the peace that Jesus gives?

Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me to see the lies that I believe. By your Holy Spirit, please replace those lies with the truth that you have overcome the world and you are always with me. Amen.

(based on 2 Kings 6:8-17)

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About James Paulgaard

Living in the in between, becoming, but not quite there yet, old and new mixed together, hanging on with all my might to the One who is holding onto me.
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