Facing Fear - Absolute Faith
March 18, 2003 • By Ed Wrather
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.
Today there is another reason for fear, in addition to the approach of war, and the increased likelihood of terrorism; health experts suspect there is a new disease stalking humanity. The new disease is now known only as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). At least ten people have died from the illness, and many more are ill with symptoms of SARS. With the rapidity of world travel, diseases can spread at frightening speed, and SARS has struck with deadliness in mainland China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Canada. Some are also ill with the disease in Singapore, and there are suspected cases in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The disease is similar to pneumonia, beginning with a high fever and dry cough, which may lead to breathing difficulties.
Does God care when we experience fear? Yes! Reassurances from God are plentiful throughout the Scriptures. Peter writes, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7).” But the greatest statement of God’s concern, and care for you, is found in the sacrifice of His Son on the cross for your sins (John 3:16). You should never doubt that God loves you, and cares for you. His direction to you in the midst of fearful, and terrifying circumstances will always be, “Fear not.” Why? Because God answers, “I am with you.”
I read just this morning about a missionary who was wounded in Yemen, and his three fellow missionaries who were killed. The wounded missionary spoke of the moment he knew he could not escape from the gunman. He knew he would be shot, but he spoke of the peace that surrounded him, as he faced the possibility of death. That peace stayed with him, even after being shot twice, and he was still facing the possibility of death.
King David knew what it was like to stare death in the face, as King Saul hunted him like an animal. David writes, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil (Psalm 23:4a).” Why does David not fear death? Why does he not fear evil, and all that could happen to him? “For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4b).”
I cannot imagine what it would be like to be living in Iraq at this moment, knowing that a massive assault will soon begin just as it did during 1991. Knowing also, that it is being said the bombardment will be more ferocious than it was before. The only thing I have to relate to something like that is being in the path of a tornado. Hearing the tornado sirens go off and seeing on the radar that a tornado is headed for you but having nowhere to hide except in a closet has given me great fear. It is a fearful thing, and only God can bring you peace and assurance during such times. Only God provides the possibility of your being spared destruction.
When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship the golden image set up by king Nebuchadnezzar, they faced death in a fiery furnace. The answer of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the answer that we need to give, and believe, whenever we face fear “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up (Daniel 3:17-18).” They had an absolute faith that no matter what happened, life or death, they would still trust in their God. That is the faith we must have as we face the fearful things of the 21st Century.