One of my biggest fears as a composer is that I’ll completely run out of ideas someday. I remember learning about composer Aaron Copland in my college years, and how he just quit writing music altogether toward the end of his life, saying that “it was exactly as if someone had simply turned a faucet off.” Terrifying, right? You wouldn’t think an emerging twenty-something composer would worry about her proverbial faucet drying up, but I do…pretty much every time I start a new piece. (Which I just did about a week ago! HOORAY! More on that in a future blog post…hopefully…)
I’ve heard it said that some variation of the command “Fear not” appears 365 times in the Bible – once for every day of the year. And I love that God wants His children to live without fear. But what I love even more is why. I mean, it’s easy to just tell someone not to be afraid, but if you can’t give them any compelling reason why they shouldn’t be, you’ve wasted your breath. Lately I’ve been paying attention to the reasons associated with this command in Scripture, and what I’ve found is pretty remarkable. Here are just a few of them:
- The Lord Himself will fight for you. (Exodus 14:14)
- The Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
- I (God) will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
- Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. (Matthew 6:32)
- It gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. (Luke 12:32)
- I (Jesus) am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. (John 14:27)
- Even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. (1 Peter 3:14)
Notice a pattern? Every reason God gives us for not being afraid is rooted in His love for us. It’s quite literally everywhere in Scripture! And it’s such a tender thing – God doesn’t tell us not to fear because He really doesn’t feel like putting up with a bunch of scaredy-cats, but because He loves us and wants us to trust Him.
Imagine a child who is scared of the dark, or non-existent monsters under the bed, and then imagine how that child’s father might respond to those fears. He’s not going to say something like, “Kid, seriously, there’s nothing there. Go to sleep already!” No, he’s going to tell his child, “I’m right here with you. I won’t let anything bad happen to you. I love you, and you are safe with me.”
It is the same with God and His children. How many times do we worry about the stupidest things, only to realize later that there was no need for that fear? Yet God is so patient with us, constantly quieting our fears with His love. (Zephaniah 3:17)
You can find a gajillion and one reasons to fear, whether real or imagined. But the love God has for you is bigger than all of them. Even if you are trusting in His love, you might still find yourself struggling with fear. Trust Him anyway. Be obedient to Him anyway. As you are faithful to Him, He will be faithful to you, and the more you come to know and experience His perfect Love for you, the more reasons you’ll find not to be afraid.
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows we have not fully experienced His perfect love. (1 John 4:16-18)
[November 3, 2014]