I am afraid. I am afraid that the media and our government thrive on fear. They push it and sell it. Any good news on the pandemic is met with a quick reminder of how many deaths have occurred. Fear sells. No one tunes into the media to hear good news, but a pandemic, a wildfire or an ice-storm, brings fear, which results in ratings and viewers. Similarly, no one needs the government when things are good, but fear allows the government to gain power, to step in and control what we do, what we wear, and even what we think. The media and the government thrive on fear because they need us to want them, and to need them. In return they stroke that fire of fear, and the cycle continues. We turn to them in fear and we leave them with more fear.
Contrast that with God. God doesn’t need us, but He wants us. God doesn’t need us, but we do need Him. He doesn’t call us to Him so that he can stir up fear, He calls us to Him, because He loves us and wants to take away our fear. Over and over we are told in the bible: DO NOT FEAR:
Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.”Isaiah 41:10-13
We have lived the last two years in a pandemic. But more concerning is the fear-demic: a fear-demic that we are allowing to control whether we allow others to see our smile, whether we visit with family and friends, whether we share touch and embraces, whether we live our lives in the manner that God calls us to live. We have closed churches and failed to return when they re-opened. We turn to the media for our Sunday service (if at all) and we stream it alone. We have lost community and connection. We have ignored God and trampled on love, and any signs of it.
Unlike the media and the government, God does not leave us with more fear. No. God offers us peace. And comfort. God offers to carry our burdens. God offers to hold our hand (even in a pandemic) and help us. God encourages us to live in communion, in community with others. If we turn to Him, if we allow Him to be our God (not the media, or a sports hero or a politician), He will strengthen us. And those who are against us (and must therefore also be against God) will be as nothing. How can we fear, if we are with God?
I fear not for me, but for this country. I fear for those who do not know you, for those who turn to the media and the government for things that only you can provide. By doing so they build up the power and strength of those entities. I know that you are far stronger. You build up the power and strength of those who turn to you. Rather than taking from us, you give to us. Strengthen us, Oh Lord! Help those who fear, turn to you, so that they can know the peace and joy that you provide.
I know that you are my God. You are the source of my strength. You are my rock and my fortress. You are my sword and my shield. I know that when I am with you, I have nothing to fear. Help me, in those times when I have fallen or turned away, when I am not with you as I should be, to not be swayed by the siren songs of the world. Help me to always return to you when I am lost or afraid.