8/11/2016 11:39:54 AM
Why are you afraid?
Darkness so thick you can feel it. There you sit, your hands and face covered with thick coal dust. You breathe in the cold dark air. In the distance you hear a drip of water. Your headlamp burned out days ago and now you peer into the emptiness in front of you and you think you see something move, but you can’t even see the hand in front of your face. It’s you and five others, and you’re trapped in a coal mine and you haven’t seen a human being since your light burned out. The passage of time is measured in drips of water, in stilted conversations with your trapped comrades about life in the light of the sun. In the silence though, there is a haunting reality that lurks around every unseen corner: I could die down here. And the darkness closes in around you.
If fear had a picture, would it be six men trapped in a mine some 1800 feet below the surface of the earth? If fear had a picture, what would it look like to you? Perhaps it would be waking up in the middle of the night to the screams of your smoke detectors and a hurried, half-dressed escape from a burning house. Perhaps fear is gripping the steering wheel of your car because that’s the last thing you can do when your tires lose traction going down that icy hill. Perhaps fear is not knowing when the next paycheck will come and what to do about the bills. Our minds can conjure up a hundred images of what fear looks like, and we each have our list of what we fear the most.
Fear is one of our greatest enemies. The devil tries to use every trick he can to get you to deny your faith and fear is one of the best because it’s part of our sinful nature. Jesus says do not fear, but we fear all kinds of things.
When we’re afraid, we’re really saying to God that we don’t trust him, we don’t trust his plan. We think something different should happen. We lack trust and so we fear.
Fear, if left unchecked will gradually shift your focus from God’s kingdom and turn your focus inward to your own efforts. Soon it’s too late and your life is consumed with your own efforts and God’s love is a distant memory. What follows is finally despair and then eternal death.
But there is a better way. In the darkness of your fear, when you seemed trapped by it, Jesus calls out to you, “have no fear.” He knows our weaknesses because he is human, too, and he was tempted in every way just like we are but was without sin. He also knows that God has given us his kingdom.
The kingdom means we don’t have to be afraid anymore. We are princes and princesses of God’s kingdom, royal heirs to his inheritance. This is the inheritance which chases away the darkness of our fear because it is the declaration that we are not guilty. The kingdom of God is Jesus hanging on the cross to pay for our sins. The kingdom of God is Jesus rising from the dead victorious over sin, death and Satan on Easter morning. The kingdom of God is the peace of knowing that we are right with God, that God loves us and will never forsake us. The kingdom of God is the eternal peace we have in everlasting life. That is the inheritance that will never spoil, fade, run out or get stolen.
So instead of being afraid, live free. We can ditch our attachment to the things of this earth. We can be generous with our wealth, instead of hoarding it. We can trust that God will give us everything we need. We can live without fear. As Jesus says, "Have no fear, trust in the kingdom."