Take Courage. Fear Not.

I’ve discovered in the last ten years or so just how relevant the various books of prophecy are. Some of them seem as if they could have been written about contemporary America. So I was not surprised when I came upon a verse that speaks to many in today’s climate of . . . worry.

I don’t know how else to say it, but there are small businesses that have had to close their doors; people who have lost their jobs; others who are worried about finding the paper products they need, when they need them; people who are concerned about getting sick or wearing masks or getting a vaccine or not getting a vaccine.

Isaiah comes along in chapter 35 and says

Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.
Say to those with anxious heart,
“Take courage, fear not. (vv 3-4a)

Interestingly, the passage starts out by announcing a reason for nature to be glad and to rejoice: “They will see the glory of the LORD/The majesty of our God.”

Essentially Isaiah is describing how things will be when Messiah comes again. He will set things right—bring His vengeance on those who deserve vengeance, save those who trust in Him, provide a “Highway of Holiness” to the redeemed, to enable gladness and joy to the ransomed of the LORD, to chase away sorrow and sighing.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it a relief, refreshing, to hear good news. Not only that, this passage reinforces the fact that God is in control, even when circumstances seem so far from what we imagined or hoped for.

For instance, I grew up in the era which taught that the US is a melting pot. We all have one thing in common: we have come from somewhere else, whether recently or in the distant past, and we have come together, blending our identities into Americans. It’s a wonderful ideal.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would see the day when students are taught “Critical Race Theory,” such that they had to identify which racial, religious, economic, gender, sexual preference oppressed group they belonged to. Those who could not, were part of the oppressors. In other words, these ideas are Marxist and they are the antithesis of the American ideal based on the creed that all people are created equal.

That idea is clearly one embedded in the Bible. God loves the whole world, for instance, and promised a blessing through Abraham for all the world. Paul specifically said all the divisions of ethnicity, gender, economics melted away at the foot of the cross. In the Church, made up of those who are reconciled to God through the sacrifice, the payment for sin, which Jesus provided, there are no distinctions.

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:21-24–emphasis mine)

So in the face of the many difficulties in 2020, our hope does not lie in a change in the calendar. I know a lot of people are talking about how they can’t wait to be done with 2020, as if the covid virus will disappear at midnight New Year’s Eve. Or jobs will suddenly come back and restaurants will miraculously open or racial tension will vanish or any number of other problems this year has uncovered, will suddenly be solved.

The change of calendar is not the answer, but the knowledge that Jesus, our Savior, will indeed come to reign as our King eternal, heaping gladness and joy on our heads and driving sorrow and sighing away, gives us a reason to take courage, to fear not.

God will handle the problems. He will set things right. It’s in the bank, a done deal. And we have His word on it.

In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. (Hebrews 6:17-18)

So now we can ask—are we in the company of those who have taken refuge in the promise of God? If so, Scripture gives us strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. Which means we can take courage. We can fear not.

Published in: on December 29, 2020 at 5:24 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 Comments

  1. Dear Ms. Miller,
    My name is Ashlynne Wilkerson. I have read your articles online and found them food for thought, as well as inspiring. I’m pleased you’re a fellow writer AND that you’ve read Bryan Davis’s books. (I am a fan of his storytelling after having read only book #1 of Dragons in our Midst! 😊)
    I just have a question regarding the articles you wrote about the Avatar movie. I know you have seen it (I haven’t yet). The thing is, I read somewhere that one Christian felt uneasy regarding the film, once she’d seen it in stores; if she felt that way, how come other Christians, including myself, haven’t whenever we see a DVD of it someplace? Are we supposed to, especially when we know the movie positively portrays New Age beliefs? And if we don’t feel as that lady did, is it because of spiritual immaturity or because we just don’t have a problem with knowing the movie has false religion?
    I’m aware these sound like ridiculous questions but I hope you can give me an answer.
    Love in Christ,
    A.T. Wilkerson

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    • Hi, A. T. Thanks for your question. First, I’m sorry for the long delay. I had computer problems, and today is the first day, the first comment since I am back up and running.

      Understand, these thoughts are just my opinion. Regarding Avatar, I can see why some react to it strongly and others don’t. What I’m uncomfortable with is people who dismiss the idea that it portrays a false religion. For those who react negatively, perhaps they are reacting to the false teaching, the false religion, the impact of Satan over those things. For those of us who don’t react so strongly against it, there are multiple reasons, so all right and others not so good. The latter might be because of a callous attitude to false religions. Others, however, might take a realistic approach–sinners sin and believe things that are opposed to God; we can interact with them best if we know what they believe. There’s truth in that position, and it requires a great deal of maturity to look at false religions and not become confused. What we should guard against is the idea that false religions are OK and are viable options.

      If you’d like to discuss this more, feel free to email me (address is located on the About page).

      Becky

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