“This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come—yes, let them foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” Isaiah 44:6-8 (NIV)
ALPHA AND OMEGA
The phrase “fear not” shows up all over Scripture.
When Joshua trembles on the outskirts of the Promised Land. When God’s people are carried off into Exile. When Gabriel tells Mary she will conceive a child. Fear not. Fear not. Fear not.
But here’s the thing: there are plenty of things to fear.
It was Lewis Carrol’s Queen who playfully exclaimed that she “sometimes…believed as many as six impossible things before lunch!” If I’m honest, I’ve often feared more things than that before breakfast.
Earthquakes. Croup. Climate change. The way I have to tuck my tummy into my pants ever since Baby #2. Cancer. Whether letting my preschooler watch another episode of Paw Patrol has forever stunted his development. Identity theft. Ants.
Turn on the news for ten minutes, and those fears only grow. Vitriol on social media. Famine. Wars. ISIS. Racism. Poverty. Ebola. The current outrage du jour simmering on Twitter. Families torn apart. Nations rising against one another. Someone deciding once again that playing with nuclear weapons is an okay thing to do.
Fear not. Fear not. Fear not.
Why? Not because we can find some hidden reserve of courage and strength deep within us. Not because we can pie-in-the-sky away our fears and live in denial, repression, or ignorance.
Scripture doesn’t say: “You should not have feared in the first place.”
From Isaiah 44:6 & 8a: “This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: ‘I am the first and the last; apart from me there is no God…Do not tremble, do not be afraid’” (NIV).
Fear not because God knows the whole story.
I tell my four-year-old bedtime stories about his adventure with his imaginary pet lion. They go through many perils together—terrific storms, perilous mountain climbs, swimming with sharks, going all day without dessert (hey, he’s four – that’s a big deal). My son doesn’t love scary things, but he loves the intensity of these stories.
Why? Because he trusts the storyteller. He knows whatever trouble he and his lion get into in the story, Mommy will find a way to bring the story and its beloved boy and lion home safely.
God is the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end. The first thing before there were any other things. The last thing, after everything else has played itself out in human history. God will remain.
He’s got this. He’s got us.
How would it change today if you knew God had tomorrow firmly in his grasp?
How can you embrace God’s call to live in freedom and not in fear?