Take Heart and Do Not Be Afraid....Do you know how often we see this in the Bible, or how many different ways that this same meaning is worded? God wants us, His daughters, to be bold and courageous. He does not want fear to hinder us.
But, I have anxiety.. my life is full of stress.. I have health concerns.. Yes! All of these are valid and I do not want to make light of the fact that so many of us face these struggles. In fact, I battle with anxiety myself. My work situation is not always easy. And I have chronic health situations that I have to surrender to God constantly and put one foot in front of the other each day. My sisters, I am with you. But even more so, GOD IS WITH YOU!
Joshua 1:9 is one of my favorite verses, as is John 16:33.
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me (Jesus is speaking here) you may have peace In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Now it would seem odd that these would be among my favorite verses, when they speak of being afraid and having trouble. But it gives me comfort to know that God already knew we would have so many questions and concerns in life. He knew what we would face, and wanted to let us know that He is with us, that He sees us, and that we are NOT alone (no matter what our feelings tell us). It’s comforting to know that I am not the only one who needs to be reminded that my peace is found in Jesus, that troubles are not unique to me, and that there will be days that I might struggle. In fact, that is why I carry mustard seeds in my purse, to remind myself and others that with faith the size of a mustard seed—God can do great things! Don’t just take my word for it, read Matthew 17:20-21. God’s Word is where we will find our strength and encouragement when life gets tough.
I would like to leave you with a few more verses to run to when life feels overwhelming. King David knew about being overwhelmed. He wrote many Psalms where he is reaching out to God for encouragement, shelter from his enemies, strength for dark days, and claiming the promises of hope we have in God.
Psalm 27, I will paraphrase this, but please read the whole chapter-it isn’t long but contains a wealth of life in the words. David looks to the Lord, who he KNOWS is the only salvation in life, who delivers him from the enemy. He is proclaiming that although he is surrounded, he will not be afraid because the Lord is HIS strength and refuge. He looks to the hope of dwelling in the house of the Lord, our promise of Heaven. He praises God and sings because he is confident in where he has placed his trust. And he ends the chapter by saying that he will wait for the Lord, he will be strong and take heart.
As long as we put our hope in Jesus, and continue to trust in Him-even through the dark-we will not be forsaken. Daniel did not face the lions on his own. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not in the fiery furnace alone. Neither are we. When Jesus went to Heaven, we were given the gift of the Holy Spirit (for all who are saved by faith through grace, Ephesians 2:8-9) so that we are not alone. He even told the disciples that they would not be alone, but that He would be sending a helper, a Counselor (see John 14:15-17) to be IN us.
God knows our needs. He loves us. We can trust Him with all of our fears, all of the cares on our hearts. He only asks that we come to Him, that we give our concerns over to Him. And if you feel that your burden is so heavy that you simply cannot carry it, come to your sisters—and we will carry it with you to the Cross of Christ. After all, we are a family!