The Bible has one form or another of saying “Don’t be afraid” three-hundred-sixty-five times in the Bible, one for every day of the year, to remind us daily Who is in charge. With all that’s going on in the world, it’s easy to be afraid. If we stay focused on what the Bible tells us, though, we can stay victorious despite everything we see and hear.
Jesus told us, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.” (Luke 12:4) At first glance that seems like out-of-touch nonsense. We have to remember, though, that Jesus had seen both sides. He had come down from Heaven and knew that all of this life and this world is temporary. He knew what was waiting on the other side, where “the real deal” awaits. All pain here is temporary, but all joy in Heaven is eternal. There is no comparison.
“I…am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals, human beings who are but grass, that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretches out the heavens and who lays the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction?” (Isaiah 51:12-13) God, speaking through Isaiah, reminds us that He is far more powerful than our enemies.
“The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans.” (Psalm 118:6-8) Mere mortals can only affect this body, which is a temporary envelope for my soul. If they kill that, I’m instantly with my Father for all eternity and that’s the gold medal at the end of the games.
Years ago my wife and I were in Hawaii with our young nieces. As we strolled along the sidewalk, a merchant came out the door of his store and said, “Bring the little girls in here and I’ll show them something none of you have ever seen!” I groaned inwardly, knowing full well I’ve "seen everything" and this was going to be a waste of time while he tried to sell us something. He was right, though. He held up a tiny box measuring two inches by three inches, half an inch deep. In that box was a freshly hatched baby gecko lizard, native to Hawaii. It was obviously newly hatched because the remnants of the egg shell were right there next to the little guy, in that box.
When I was a boy I spent many hours trying to catch lizards by hand. They were always too fast for me, scurrying into the rocks where I couldn’t reach them. Now, looking at this little gecko, I couldn’t understand why it didn't jump out of the tiny box in the merchant’s hand and scurry out the door and into the bushes. Geckos eat bugs, and Hawaii is every lizard’s “dream come true” with trillions of bugs to eat. The little guy just sat there, though, taking in the scene with its two front paws up on the edge of that two-inch by three-inch box, half an inch deep box. I couldn’t understand why it just sat there instead of bounding out of the box, and into freedom.
Months later the answer came to me. The fragments of the eggshells were the clue. That gecko had hatched just moments earlier, right there in the box. That box was the only home it had ever known, and it had no concept of the lizard heaven waiting for it right outside the shop door. It was afraid to leave the only safety it knew in exchange for the great unknown.
To bring this home: my body is like that cardboard box, two inches by three inches, half an inch deep. It’s the only home my soul has ever known. I’m not comfortable about leaving it. But God has promised that this is nothing compared to what He has waiting for me, if I’ll trust Him.
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Romans 8:18 (NASB)
"For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace." Romans 8:6 (NASB)
© 2017 Darvis McCoy