Versions of the consoling words, “Fear not,” and “Do not be afraid,” are found frequently in both the Old and New Testaments. Sometimes these words are spoken by prophets on behalf of God (e.g., Isaiah 44:8), or by angels (e.g., Luke 1:30). In today’s reading, the words issue from the mouth of Jesus. We seem to need to be reminded over and over again not to be fearful.
We humans are afraid of so many dangers: disease, poverty, severe weather, crime, accidents, terrorism, war, and perhaps most of all, death. We fear not only for ourselves, but for our loved ones, too. Even our prayers can resemble checklists of our worries and fears. The point is not just to enumerate our worries-it’s to turn them over to God.
We have it on excellent authority that “perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18) It’s not our love that needs to be perfect. God’s love already is. When the disciples realized who the “I” was who was speaking to them, they reached the shore safely. We don’t need to be alone in our little boats either.
Dear Lord, when we are frightened, help us to remember that you are with us-right here, right now, always. Amen. — CKA