It is evening in your home, and you are prepping your mind and body for surgery the next day. This surgery is not your run-of-the-mill, outpatient procedure. This surgery will decide life or death for you. Morning comes and your family travels with you to the hospital. You sit in a waiting room, thinking about what is coming next. Everyone’s emotions are running high, but you seem to have no fear.
This was the situation my father-in-law faced when he was scheduled for open heart surgery. He knew the surgery was needed, but it put death at the forefront of his mind. He chose to lean on the Lord and have no fear, instead of relying on his human emotions.
So, why should we not be afraid? Why should we have no fear even when we face life-or-death circumstances? Because God said so.
Why Does Isaiah Say We Should Not Be Afraid?
The prophet Isaiah tells us to not be afraid because God is with us. This answer is simple and finite. God has proven that no matter what situation the Israelites – or us – face, He is with them, and He is their God.
Throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, God reminds us that He desires to be with His people. He walked in the Garden of Eden with Adam; He was a fire by night and cloud by day while the Israelites wandered in the desert, and He continued to protect His people in battle. Jesus came to this earth to walk among the people and share the gospel message. Today, God is preparing the eternal home we will have with Him in heaven.
We must ask ourselves, why would God do all this if we were to walk in fear? Because He loves us that much. He desires for us to have an abundant life, filled with joy. The only way we can have that is to know and live the words of Isaiah 41:10.
What Is the Context of This Verse?
Isaiah was a prophet tasked with speaking to the Jews in exile. Israel was being reprimanded for the covenant violations they had made, but they were also given hope for restoration.
If we back up to chapter 40, we can get a clearer picture of what is happening. In chapter 40 the reader gets an introduction to the third section of the book. Isaiah has addressed the sin of the people and now he wants to remind them of the coming of the glory of Yahweh. He gives them instruction to prepare for the coming and encourages the people to not be afraid.
Chapter 41 further speaks of the power of Yahweh. Isaiah drives home the point that God will be with his people, and they have nothing to fear. Isaiah speaks of a time when the people of Judah will experience a type of new exodus. This will be a time when God’s chosen people will come back together, be delivered from their enemies, and led back to the promised land.
How Will God Strengthen Us When We Are Afraid?
Verse 10 lays out the way God strengthens us when we are in difficult situations. His first words are “do not fear, for I am with you.” Looking back at what my father-in-law was facing, I realize he was not alone. Yes, he had his family there, but more importantly, he had Christ inside him. There was nothing that could harm him in that moment. There was nothing that could make him fear what the outcome would be.
Isaiah furthers says our God will strengthen and help us. What a comfort to know that no matter how weak we may feel, God will give us strength. God will help us through scary or difficult times. Our Lord loves us so much that he would lend his power, strength, guidance, and spirit to us lowly humans all to help us not be afraid.
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Is It Sinful to Be Afraid?
Everyone will experience fear at some point in their lives because we are human. Being afraid is a part of our sin nature. God even knows that we will be afraid sometimes. To be afraid or fearful is not a sin. The sin is what we do with the fear.
I remember as a child hearing that I should have a healthy fear of my parents. This didn’t mean I was to be scared of them. I was to respect them for the wisdom they had. They had already been through childhood and adolescence. They had learned the lessons, and I needed to be open to listening to and heeding their advice.
Like a child and a parent, we should have a fear of the Lord. Our fear is connected to our awe of who God is. It is our respect for the power that he holds and the love he shares with his children.
When fear arises in us, we should remember that God said He would be with us. He said he would give us strength to carry on and hold us up when we are weak. In Proverbs 19:23, we read “the fear of the Lord leads to life.” We can rest and be content in our fear.
While being afraid is not a sin itself, there is an opportunity to create sin from fear. This happens when we try to solve our problems or change our situations ourselves. Paul David Tripp says “Peace and hope are never found in your efforts to figure out the truth.” When we let fear take us further away from God, we are expressing sin.
God loves us so much he sent his son to die for us. A father who loves his children that much will never let fear penetrate their core. John tells us that perfect love drives out fear. God is that perfect love. He did not create us to live a life filled with fear. Jesus came so that we could have life abundantly.
A Prayer for Strength When You Are Afraid
Lord, this world can be a dark, lonely place. Fear seems to be around every corner. My days are spent worrying about the future. I come to you now, laying all my fear and anxieties at your feet. Your word tells me you will strengthen me, comfort me, and uphold me. I am asking for that strength and comfort. Come alongside me, Lord. Remind me of your perfect love that drives out all fear. Hold my hand as I traverse each day. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
Fear is an emotion that all of us face daily. There will always be something in our lives that gives us reason to be afraid. When those feelings or thoughts arise, remember the words of Isaiah. Our Lord says do not fear because He is with us. He says he will give us strength. He will hold us up with his hand. We have nothing to fear.
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Ashley Hooker is a freelance writer who spends her time homeschooling her two children, ministering alongside her husband as he pastors a rural church in West Virginia, and writing about her faith. Currently, she is a contributing author for Journey Christian magazine. She has taken part in mission trips with the NC Baptist Men during the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey in Mississippi and Texas. In her local church, she has served on various committees focusing in the area of evangelism along with traveling to West Virginia and Vermont to share the Gospel. Her dream is to spend her time writing and sharing the love of Christ with all she meets.