"Nobody ever said that life was gonna be fair
You're never gonna get nowhere by running scared
If you look down deep inside you'll find the faith to make you strong
Oh, oh carry on."
These are lyrics of Tim Mcgraws song "Carry on". These lyrics summarize one way the world advises us on what to do when you are afraid. But unfortunately it is cold comfort. This advice won't help when you have no job, no money and no food or when you are on your death bed or when you see persecution coming. For if you look deep down inside, you will find nothing but a mass of corruption. Faith doesn't come from navel gazing or internal speculation. Faith comes from outside of ourselves. So looking deep inside our barren hearts won't help you in a world of fear. So how can you be bold as a lion in this world filled with fears? (Proverbs 28:1.)
God has clearly answered this question in His Word. Let us look at some of what He has said. In Deuteronomy 31:6 Moses tells the people of Israel "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you."
Then in verse 7 and 8, Moses tells the same thing to Joshua. In verse 23 the LORD tells Joshua to 'Be strong and courageous for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you."
Later in the book of Joshua, God repeatedly gives this same command to Joshua before he begins the conquest of the land of Canaan. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you where ever you go." Joshua 1:9. This exhortation is repeated by others in verse 18 and later in chapter 10:25.
This same exhortation is given to Solomon by David. "Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished." 1 Chronicles 28:20
Or consider Psalm 46:1, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way."
When the disciples were sailing in a great storm on the lake of Galilee, they saw what looked like a ghost coming out to meet them on the lake in the midst of this storm. It was Jesus coming to help them and I love what He says to them. "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid." Matt 14:26
Do you see the answer to our question? We can have courage in the midst of horrible troubles, impossible tasks, and great dangers because our courage comes from the promises and presence of God. Those who are redeemed and reconciled to God though Christ can be assured that their heavenly Father is always with them to give them help and strength. Our Father never leaves us alone. He is faithful to His promises and will finally present us blameless in His presence. His sovereignty, wisdom, love, goodness, power are all working on our behalf. If God is for us, who can be against us? In every circumstance God is using it for our good. When the way ahead of us is hard or the task ahead towers above us, God promises He will go with us and give us what we need.
Would a cat be afraid of a dog if a lion or bear was protecting it? Or does a child feel afraid of the dark if his father is right beside him. No I think not. Should we be afraid or dismayed when the infinite, all powerful Lord of the Universe is standing beside us? No, but we still do feel afraid often. Our faith is weak and our memories short. We need to cry out to God to increase our faith so we can "see" Him who is invisible beside us and hold on to His promises. Our troubles are small, before the Infinite One. Even the biggest troubles or difficulties is tiny for our King. We need to spend more time looking at our God than at our troubles and fears.
Just one more text before I am done. Jesus told His disciples before he left to ascend into heaven that they were authorized to go into all the world to make disciples and then to teach them everything He taught them. Few harder tasks do we have than this. This commission has cost the lives of many people. It has brought much hardship in the lives of Christians to fulfill this. It may have seemed impossible to the disciples at that time. But consider the last promise of Jesus before He left to ascend into heaven. How does He encourage His people in this task? " And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matt 28:20. Emmanuel, which means God with us, promises that He will be with His people to help them in this task so long as this world endures. The righteous are as bold as lion, because the great Lion of the tribe of Judah goes with them.