by John Indermarkt
Life can present a complicated array of confusing choices and overwhelming situations. How can we find our way through or trust God’s way through? Put first things first. Remember where and in Whom our lives are grounded. For Abram, the bedrock upon which he stands firm and from which he finds it possible to move forward in faith is God’s first word to him: “Do not be afraid.”
Fear, far more than doubt, is faith’s opposite in the biblical witness. In Abram’s case, fear had caused him to pass off Sarai as his sister. Fear drove Abram to discount God’s promises of an heir and of a place. Abram had undertaken the journey from Ur, but now it hangs uncertain in Abram’s fear of delays in the details of the promises portended. So God announces a word equivalent to putting first things first for Abram: “Do not be afraid.”
Do not live in fear. Journeys of faith still stumble on account of fear, which tells us that we are alone, that whatever is not under our control or in our grasp will be lost.
The gospel of God to Abram is a message of community, soon to be enacted in the covenant that follows. It tells us that life resides not in what we may or may not grasp but in whose grace and promise we are held. It is a message that affirms our trust in the One who offers such gracious covenant.
We need not fear, not because there are not things to be afraid of in life. We need not fear because God’s presence and promises accompany us, empower us, free us.
SUGGESTION FOR MEDITATION:
Make a list of your fears. Beside each one, note a promise or experience of God that encourages you not to be afraid. Use this list in your daily prayers.