Freedom from Fear
A quote that used to hang in my office read, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” For many years that quote held meaning for me. I recognized I had a lot of fear in my life, and I knew it was holding me back. Sitting with that quote, I imagined how different my life would be without fear. I dreamed of things I would do, risks I would take. And I realized that without fear I would be free to live boldly into the life God intends for me.
David certainly understands the power of fear as he writes Psalm 27. As a teenager taking on Goliath, as the ruler of a kingdom facing various threats, and as the veteran of many battles, David has experienced fear many times. Still, David has killed the giant. He has become a powerful king and has defeated many adversaries. David explains that this success has been possible because of the light of the Lord, a light that repeatedly has protected and saved him from his enemies. Because of this, David has learned to trust in the Lord, moving forward with confidence into his calling.
Still, there are moments when David is afraid, times when he cries out to the Lord. Rather than indicating a loss of faith, his cries are modeling faith for us: In moments of darkness, we cannot help but call out to God. In doing so, we acknowledge that God exists even though we may not feel God’s presence. As we call out, God brings us toward the light. Though it may not happen as quickly as we’d like or in the way we’d like, God will always bring us into the light, free us from fear, and free us to live into God’s calling.
Lord of light, help me to cry out to you in the darkness. Deliver me from fear so that I may live boldly into your calling for me. Amen.
Sometimes we struggle with the challenges we face. If God is good and God is for us, then why do we experience pain and loss? Isaiah feels the sting of darkness and despair, and the psalmist has experienced days of distress. Yet both encourage themselves with the promise that God has not forgotten them. The light will come, as will the shouts of joy. The New Testament readings warn against following human leaders to the extent that we take our eyes off Christ. The Corinthian church has divided into factions that identify primarily with Paul or Peter, not Christ! The Gospel reading shows that Peter, like all other human leaders, is merely a disciple himself. Jesus is the one we should seek to follow.
Read Isaiah 9:1-4. How has God’s love freed you to find your calling?
Read Psalm 27:1, 4-9. When have you called out to God? How has God helped you turn your cries to praise?
Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-18. How have you experienced division within the body of Christ? How might a focus on Christ rather than particular faith leaders or denominations help you to repair division and work through differences?
Read Matthew 4:12-23. How have significant changes in your life (like a loved one’s death or a career change) allowed your ministry to grow?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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