"There is nothing to be afraid of!"
Richard L. Floyd
"The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?" - Psalm 27:1
When my daughter, Rebecca, was a little girl she went through a fearful period and frequently arrived at the edge of our bed in the wee hours, usually at my wife's side where there was considerably more sympathy to be had. She would say in a small voice, "I'm scared!" And I would say in a big Dad voice, "There is nothing to be afraid of. Go back to bed."
And while it was true that she had nothing to fear in our big old parsonage, on another level it was one of those little white lies parents tell small children to protect them. Because, in fact, there is always plenty to be afraid of, and not long after that there was both an arsonist in our neighborhood and a serial child killer in the area, who was later caught very near the front of our church.
Years later grown-up Rebecca said to me, "Dad, no wonder I was scared—there was some really scary stuff going on." She is now a fearless UCC minister, but during her first week at seminary we received an e-mail from the dean alerting us that a woman on campus had just been murdered, and the killer hadn't been apprehended.
That night Rebecca called and said, in that same little girl voice from long ago, "I'm scared." And I, of course, said, "There's nothing to be afraid of." And we both started laughing, and then I said, "I'm scared, too."
If you read all of Psalm 27 you'll notice that the Psalmist, let's call him David, declares his confidence and trust in God, even though powerful enemies surround him. Which is to say that faith lives in the midst of our fears. And our fears can take on real power to stunt and stymie us if we let them.
The good news is that the real power in the universe is neither the things that we are afraid of nor our fears themselves, but the power of the living God we are called to live out day by day, even in those fearful times when we can't see it or feel it.
O God, give us your gift of faith, a faith to overcome all our fears. We pray in Jesus' name.