Today I want to speak about fear, because fear has become a big thing amidst the current crisis.
And today, in the gospel, we heard the Lord Jesus say some important words about fear.
Our context, for many, is a context of fear:
The media have, it seems to me, often revelled in daily updates of deaths and strategic disasters.
The broader context, even if the media are revelling in disaster-reporting, the broader context is undeniably one of uncertainty on a range of issues:
How does the virus spread? Who is most affected? Why? Can the government, or we, really do much about it?
Uncertainty can easily breed fear.
What does the Lord Jesus say?
“Do not be afraid” (Mt 10:26,28,31) -which he says 3 time sin this short passage!
Let’s start there: He tells us not to fear.
We know, from recent experience and longer experience, that fear is a crippling thing, a thing that makes you shrink in on yourself and do nothing.
Fear destroys us, SPIRITUALLY, even if it’s a reaction to the possibility of a real PHYSICAL destruction.
The Lord tells is not to fear.
More specifically, He focuses us:
Don’t fear those who can destroy the body, but can not touch the soul.
We need, He is saying, to get our priorities right -and if we do this it TRANSFORMS fear.
We need to think more broadly, more deeply.
The important thing to fear, is, the salvation of our soul.
Our soul lasts for eternity, whereas our body will not -the virus, or food poisoning, or SOMETHING will kill the body.
The soul is what really matters.
In the matter of our soul, as with our body, the remedy to fear is, ultimately, TRUST.
If we have someone we can trust, trust to aid us against what we fear, then we have no need to fear.
And, the key point:
The Lord tells us that there IS someone we can trust:
Trust in the ultimate issue of our soul,
and trust, in another way, for the body.
God knows us, and He cares.
“Every hair on your head has been counted. There is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Mt 10:31).
Regarding the soul:
We need to live in humility, in trust, in seeking forgiveness -even if we have lived badly, we can die well if we die calling out to God for forgiveness, like the thief who hung by the Lord in the Cross.
Regarding the body:
God doesn’t promise a life free of problems. In fact, He warns us elsewhere, “In the world you WILL have tribulation”.
But He also tells us that He has conquered.
He also tells us He cares,
that He directs and guides and strengthens us, even amidst the tribulations.
Well, yes, fear is a real thing.
Most us fear, at least at times, and many of us have feared at different times in recent months.
But, to repeat and conclude, the remedy for fear is trust.
His teaching TELLS us to trust;
His own life in earth has SHOWN us reason to trust.
God cares for the lilies of the fear and the birds in the sky,
“So there is no need to be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Mt 10:31)