Fear In The Shadow Of An Empty Tomb

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.” – John 20:19 ESV

It’s easy to understand why the disciples were so fearful after the crucifixion of Jesus. They had believed that he was their hope of the future. Seeing him crucified at the hands of his own people, must have been terrifying. So, how did they move forward?

A big part of how they moved forward had to do with the reassurance of God’s promises and Jesus’ words that brought everything into focus.

As I listen to the words of our pastor, Jon Porter, each Sunday morning, I know that his message is going to enlighten me in same way. Today was no exception. We can easily compare the level of fear many are living in today, to the fear that must have been felt by the disciples.

Jon shared this quote by Max Lucado, “Fear turns us into control freaks…for fear, at its center, is a perceived loss of control. When life spins wildly, we grab for a component of life we can manage: our diet, the tidiness of our home, the armrest of a plane, or, in many cases, people. The more insecure we feel, the meaner we become. We growl and bare our fangs. Why? Because we are bad? In part. But also because we feel cornered.”

Our consideration of fear leaves us with much wisdom from the Bible. In fact, the Bible tells us 365 times to “fear not”. That’s one time every day for a year!

The disciples felt fear then and we are feeling it now in these uncertain times. But what does fear do to us? It makes us lose our focus. Instead of believing what we know to be true, it robs us of our faith and the courage we gain from knowing the promises Jesus has given us.

Jon says that we hide because of fear. It builds on unbelief and on the unknown. You may have been told wrongly that fear is sin. But God has given us emotions so that we can use discernment and wisdom to protect us.

So how do we use this in dealing with this pandemic? We remember to trust that God is in control and that he has promised to care for us. If we study Scripture and find that we are thinking and acting in a way that opposes the Word of God, we can be sure that we are handing it wrongly.

Instead of wishing that things would return to normal, we need to realize that this virus has revealed what we had become. So how do we move forward in overcoming this fear? We may not all do it the same way, leaning into God is a great way to start.

Faith is deciding what we need to do even though we don’t feel equipped to do it. Check on your neighbor, love your enemy. Quit trying to out do each other on social media by arguing over which political party is better or more right.

Remember what God has already done. That helps us see how faithful he has been to this point. Try not to judge others. Let’s prepare to move forward to bring God to the people that don’t know him yet. We are His hands and feet. How can we move forward out of His strength? Let’s realize and embrace this new, resurrected life. Face fear with the peace of the Risen Savior!

I encourage you to view Jon Porter’s message online. Follow this link or visit our Facebook page. Trayton Griffith, our worship leader, has assisted Jon with bringing these messages and an opportunity to praise God in song. We appreciate them so much and can’t wait to reunite with our church family once again! Until then, stay safe and stay home.

In Faith,

Pam

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