If you’re familiar with either The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Dad’s Army, you’ll know that the most famous quote from both is, “Don’t panic!!” But what happens to you when something alarming and unexpected happens? Do your stress levels rise as your mind works overtime exploring all the possible (and worst) scenarios? Do you have that horrible feeling of tightness in your gut that makes you feel sick and anxious and desperate? And, if you do, what can you do about it?
I remember when I was a new Christian, our cell group leader’s teenage son had not yet come home from an after-school sports event. Our group was arriving at their house and it was 8pm – they were becoming concerned! My first reaction was let’s go look for him. His parents’ reaction was let’s pray together and put the situation in God’s hands, THEN go look for him. I was concerned about wasting time and eager to go, but their experience told them that God is faithful and they could trust him to keep their son safe and guide us, since David could be anywhere between school and home, a distance of about 4 miles, or somewhere else entirely! No cell phones in those days!
So we prayed, then set off, all taking different routes to the school. His mum and I drove together, scanning pavements and side roads and, as we approached the school gates, suddenly we saw him standing at the bus stop outside! He’d been waiting for over two hours but the bus never arrived! When we said, “It’s getting dark, weren’t you scared?” he said, “No, because I knew you’d come.” That was a big lesson to me, both in the power of prayer and faith!
Do we know with certainty that someone will come and rescue us when we’re alone and the darkness is closing round us? David had complete faith in his parents, but they had put their faith in God, rather than their own strength, to keep their firstborn safe from harm. The Lord never leaves us nor forsakes us. There is no “might or maybe” about it – He WILL be with us! Always.
Do you recall a time when you were overwhelmed by fear? Sudden bad news, a loss, a poor diagnosis, a financial disaster, a crisis in your marriage or family…? Are you facing something now?
Do you know that the Lord is your strength, your shield, your defender, your strong tower, your fortress and refuge in times of trouble? He stands with us and for us.
Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you. Deut 3:22
Do not be afraid of them because the Lord your God…will be with you. Deut 20:1
Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. Deut 20:3
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut 31:6
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deut 31:8
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Josh 1:9
These are just a very few of the encouragements that God gives in his Word. Even as he was talking then to Moses or Joshua, in the old testament, his Word speaks to US today because he is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Do not be afraid, put your trust in the God who delivers you.