walk in the word
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19–21, esv).
The word phobia could have a thousand different prefixes. There’s acrophobia—the fear of heights. Agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces or crowds, and its opposite, claustrophobia. Or anthropophobia, aquaphobia, astraphobia, arachnephobia. There is even a fear of gold, aurophobia. And these barely scratch the surface of the phobias that start with A.
We live in a world consumed by fear, because we live in a world without Jesus.
The absence of Jesus means fear—and fear can be paralyzing. Just look at the disciples. Hiding behind locked doors and shaking in their sandals, they were terrified in the aftermath of Jesus’ death. If they killed the one we were following, maybe they’re planning to kill us too! In the face of the unknown, the disciples should have been drawing upon God’s strength. But their fear froze their capacity to trust by faith and distorted their view of the future.
“Fear freezes our capacity to trust by faith and distorts our view of the future.”
Then suddenly, “Jesus came.” And the first words out of His mouth were “Peace be with you.” Not admonishment for their fearful state, not chastising for their disbelief. Jesus spoke encouragement into their deepest need.
Stretching out His scarred hands, revealing His pierced side, Jesus was with his disciples once again. Intersecting their point of fear, He disarmed it with His presence. Picture the flood of relief and recognition . . . It’s really Him?! Jesus is alive!! This changes everything!
To the fearful heart, Christ’s presence and peace are His answer. God is tender toward our proneness to fear. He understands our inclination to walk by sight and not by faith. “He knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).
If you have the privilege of being a parent, imagine coming home to find one of your children in their most vulnerable moment. Your four-year-old is weeping on his bed and rushing to comfort him, you ask what’s wrong. “Oh, Mommy! Oh, Daddy! What are we going to eat? Where are we going to live? Who will take care of us??”
Far from anger or annoyance, your heart would be grieved to see your child in such fearful anxiety. Yet how often does your heavenly Father find you in that very state? How much of your emotional health do you willingly give over to fear? The Lord knows your every need. He provides for the birds, “Are you not of more value than they?” He clothes the flowers, “Will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:26b, 30b).
God is immensely concerned about the condition of your heart, and you are never farther from His desires for you than when your heart is filled with anxious fear. The answer to fear is peace—and the access to peace is Jesus.
But proximity to the Lord doesn’t equal provision. You must draw upon His strength. As you scan the horizon of your future, if you are fearful about anything, let Jesus Christ speak peace to you. He is every bit as much “in the room” with you as He was with the disciples.
Only Jesus can disarm your fear and replace it with His peace.
Lord, I confess that I am prone to walk by sight instead of faith. Forgive me for fixing my eyes on temporal solutions for my circumstances instead of taking my fears to You. I praise You for reminding me who You are—the sovereign, almighty, most holy God. You know every need in my life so much better than I do, and You promise to supply each one. Please deepen my faith and help me to grow in relationship with You through Your all-powerful Son. Thank You for making it possible to find unshakeable peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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