And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not. Luke 2:8-10a
There’s a lot to be scared of in 2021. We can be scared of each other and scared of ourselves. We can be scared of the coronavirus. We can be scared of political change and how different parties might react to it. We can be scared of a new round of recession, layoffs, and evictions. What’s on your list?
The Bible gives every indication that the Lord is aware of our fears. Repeatedly throughout Scripture, God tells his people not to be afraid.
Perhaps He has to keep saying it because it is easier told than done. Or perhaps it is because not being afraid requires us to make deeper adjustments.
Fear results when we realize we do not have control over our circumstances and that there is a realistic chance those circumstances may go negative. Shepherds, like the ones in our text today, were used to being able to handle anything that threatened their flocks – wolves, snakes, even lions. When something dangerous showed up that they couldn’t control, the fear ensued.
It is the same for you and me. We face challenges of all shapes and sizes every day, but as long as we remain confident we can meet those challenges, we don’t tend to get scared. It is only when we face something negative that we can’t control that we indulge in fear.
The common element you, me, and all those people in the Bible told to “fear not” possess is that we have strong tendencies to rely on ourselves. Notice that God never tells Jesus not to fear. You never hear angels being told to fear not. Jesus surrendered his omnipotence and the angels are clearly not without their limitations, and yet neither is ever afraid. It is not because they are always self sufficient. It is because they have not placed their trust in their own limited ability.
Any one of us, from the greatest to the smallest, can live without fear. The trick to it is agreeing up front that you are not in control and are unable to truly protect yourself. When we do that, we can surrender control over our lives to the Lord, knowing that He is bigger than anything we might face. Our fearlessness is not a result of our own resources. It results from our surrender to an omnibenevolent, omnipotent Father.
Fearlessness awaits us my friends. Embrace it with all you have.