This was meant to be the Lenten Reading for week five of Lent. We would like to share this because it so fits with all that is going on in the world at the current time.
Week Five of Lent 2020: Find Faith in the Midst of Fear
It’s been said that “fear not” is the most repeated command in the Bible. It’s also said that fear and anxiety are among the top causes of stress for Americans today. We have so many reasons to fear. Having lived through recession, we fear the loss of jobs and financial instability. With repeated mass shootings and terrorist attacks, we fear tragedies that can strike at any time. The uncertainly of relationships creates fear in our marriages , and the fragility of life make us fear sickness that leads to death.
David declared prophetically that we have nothing to fear. Were things easier for him? Sure, he may not have had the exact pressures we have, but his story indicated that he had good reason to fear. His enemies were real. His family experienced conflict and broken relationships. He witnessed and experienced the effects of sickness and pain. But David allowed the reality of God to supersede his fear. His problems and enemies were real, but he understood God to be bigger. In Psalms 27:1 David tells us “the LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” David demonstrated how we can rise above our fears by leaning into God as our light, salvation, and strength. By seeking the Lord and dwelling in the temple, his faith grew in spite of his fears.
Circumstances can be frightening. When your boss calls you in and tells you the company has to downsize and they are letting you go, when the doctor calls you with the test results that are not good, when you open that letter from an attorney that says you are being sued, it can scare you. It can devastate you. And it can cause you to take your eyes off Jesus.
Where fear reigns, faith is driven away. But where faith reigns, fear has no place. Faith and fear don’t mix. As you bring in faith, fear will walk out the back door. But if you invite fear as a resident in your life, then you will drive faith away.
As we extinguish the fifth Lenten candle, let it remind us to be more aware of our faith in God. Let it remind us with God we have nothing to fear in life. (Extinguish a candle, leaving 1 candle and the Christ candle lit throughout the service.)
Let us pray.
Lord, we acknowledge that we are genuinely afraid, but that you are genuinely with us. Let our knowledge of you surpass all else that we know. Help us to cast off our fear and lean into confident faith.