Don't Be Afraid

Twice in the past year the Lord has given me message: Do Not Be Afraid. Here's the first one: Eighty years ago the stock market crashed and out of the financial misery the Great Depression emerged. What had been years in the making struck hard one bleak day, leaving the world anxious and afraid.

Analysts are comparing some of what is happening to day to that era, wondering if we too have set something into motion that can’t be stopped. Perhaps we have, financially. But the picture is bigger than that. It’s about more than money, our material comfort, and our puffy little lives.

Through His prophets and circumstances, God repeatedly warned the children of Israel that it was time to turn back to Him, to repent, to restore their relationship with Him.

But finally, they had set in motion something that could not be stopped, and soon they faced more than economic disaster. Their entire way of life was destroyed as Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian army conquered Jerusalem and the people were taken in captivity.

The people cried out to the prophet Jeremiah, asking him to tell them what to do, even promising to obey what he said. The message God gave His people was this: Do not run away to Egypt! Don’t try to escape the war and hunger. Remain in the land. Stand fast.

“If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I am grieved over the disaster I have inflicted on you,” the Lord promised (Jeremiah 42).

Likewise, today, I believe God is calling us to stand fast, not to run away to the world or go hide in some survivalist camp and protect only our own interests. This is not the time for another American revolution. It’s time for a revival! We can’t cling to the comforts we have at the expense of our relationship with the Lord. Our lives have grown so puffed up and complicated. God is calling His church to simplify our hearts and lives to an attitude of prayer, worship, serving one another, and demonstrating His love.

Judgment is coming, and I don’t believe we can stop what has been set into motion. But as God calls us to repent and return to Him, He also assures us just as He spoke to the children of Israel long ago:

“‘Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear. Do not be afraid of him,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands. I will show you compassion so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your land’” (Jeremiah 42: 11-12).

As we launch into a new decade, I believe the Lord is telling us, “Do not be afraid.”

Don’t run away from the Lord, from fellowship, from accountability, and the issues at hand. Don’t despair. Don’t fear the future. Turn to Him and allow Him to carry you through whatever is ahead. Whatever you now fear, as the children of Israel feared the king of Babylon, put it in the hands of the Lord, for He says most clearly:

“Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).