You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. (NIV)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV)
The words of Matthew 24:6-7 sound like the nightly news. Gun violence. War. Food chain shortages. Extreme weather. Ecclesiastes says over and over “there is nothing new under the sun.” Jesus lived in the same world then that we live in today. The disciples and people listening to him feared the same things we do. While technology has changed, humans have not. We live with the same sins and same troubles as those who heard Jesus speak these very words so long ago.
I think that it is no accident that “fear not” appears 365 times in the Bible. There is one “fear not” for every day of the year; constant reassurance that we are not alone in this world. We live in a time when divisive voices from all sides tell us we are doomed. We feel chaos swirling around us, and solid footing and cohesive thoughts are impossible to achieve. Jesus is our solid ground. Focusing on Jesus and his words of reassurance and encouragement calm our thoughts.
While these verses certainly do not lull us into a false sense of easy days ahead, the fact that Jesus repeatedly tells us not to be afraid brings us hope and the ability to look beyond the turmoil to a promised time of peace. Jesus never promises an easy or safe life with him, but he does urge us—everyday — “fear not! I have overcome the world.”
Let us pray...
Please continue to remind us of your unfailing love and care. Help us to remember that there is “nothing new under the sun” to fear and that You are the same voice telling us to “fear not” as you told your disciples all those years ago. In Jesus Holy Name,