For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.” —Isaiah 41:13
When I read this passage from today’s first reading, I wondered how many times an angel, a prophet, Jesus, or some other messenger from God said “Do not be afraid” or “Do not fear.” They didn’t teach me this in theology graduate school, so I did what my husband or kids would tell me to do to find out. I googled it. Seeing that the answers ranged wildly from 103 to 365, I thought, “Maybe someday I should go through the entire Bible from beginning to end and count these quotes myself.” I don’t have the patience to do that, though, nor the desire to spend my time that way.
It will have to suffice that anyone who reads much of the Bible or hears it from the pulpit on Sundays will notice that “Do not be afraid” seems to be a common message God is trying to get across to us. Obviously, our ancestors didn’t always get the point, which is why it had to be repeated so often. I sometimes think that in all the controversy about which passages in the Bible should be taken literally, this one should be a no-brainer for full-on acceptance that God meant what God said. I know from experience that letting go of fear is easier said than done, but it does help me to think about this literally. If God said, “Do not fear, I will help you,” then God must mean it.
For Prayer: Is there anything you are fearful of these days? Take your fears to God and ask to be freed of them.