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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
kept in His hands
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NACR Daily Meditation for Tuesday, Aug 30, 2005

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Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I
will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right
hand. Isaiah 41:10

Many of us struggle with fear. It is a very uncomfortable emotion. We would
be happy to be rid of it. It causes our hearts to race, our focus of attention
to narrow, and terrible possibilities to enter our minds. We wish we could
banish fear from our hearts by sheer will power. We wish we could simply
stop feeling afraid. Unfortunately fear is not dismissed so easily.

There is something about texts such as this one that leave us very uncomfortable.
The words "do not fear" seem like a simple command. God says "do
not fear". It looks like a simple imperative. Our job is simply to
obey. But, we cannot seem to obey. No matter how hard we try not to be afraid,
we cannot seem to make our fears go away.

The key to understanding texts of this kind is to see that when God says
'do not fear', it is not a simple imperative from an authority figure. The
words "do not fear" are spoken as words of comfort. And they are followed
by a specific promise of God's presence with us.

A loving parent speaks to a child who awakens from a nightmare with words
such as, "Don't be afraid. I'm here with you. You are safe." This
is not a rejection of the child's fears. It is not an instruction to do
the impossible. It is, rather, a promise of protection. If a parent says
only "Don't be afraid," then the child learns that the parent
doesn't understand and the child feels unprotected. But if the parent says
"Don't be afraid, I'm here with you," the child's needs are validated
and the child is comforted by the parent's protection.

God comforts us in the way a loving parent comforts a frightened child.
God says to us, "I know that you are afraid; but I also want you to
know that I am here with you. I will not leave you. I will give you strength.
I will give you help. I will hold you by the hand so that you will not fall".

You know, God,
how often I am afraid.
And you know the soil in which these fears have grown.
And you know how I have struggled to be free from fear.
Help me to draw courage today from your presence.
Be with me.
Give me strength.
Help me.
Uphold me with your hand.
Still my fears, God of all Comfort.
Still my fears with your powerful love.

Copyright 1991 Dale and Juanita Ryan

"no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted..." ~ aesop
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