The following is an excerpt from a book titled, “Words of Hope for All Times“, written by a close family friend, and one of my spiritual mentors, Dr. William E. Berg. Pastor Berg wrote this book at the young age of 97. He was still writing and speaking up until his death this week at the age of 102! The passage in his book is about having true hope, and not being afraid.
Don't Be Afraid!
A pastor asked his congregation one Sunday morning to read the 17th chapter of St. Mark in preparation for the following Sunday's sermon. Before giving this sermon he asked how many had read Mark 17. Every hand went up. The pastor said, “I have the right audience for my sermon today. It deals with liars. There is no 17th chapter in St. Mark's Gospel.”
This message is not for liars, but for those devastated by fear. For those with fears and apprehensions, the question is not, “Are you afraid?” but rather, “What are you afraid of?” There is the fear of failure, of losing independence, of old age and dependence. There is the fear of the future and the unknown. There is the fear of losing home or job. There is the fear of failing health, the fear of cancer and the fear of death. There is the fear of being alone, of being unwanted and unneeded.
What shall we do with fears that devastate both body and spirit? We can lose them in ultimate fear – the fear without which we cannot be saved. It is the fear of God. If fear of God is missing, all of your other fears will take over and devastate your life. Fear of God is, as Dr. Raymond Hedberg has said, “A sober realization of who He is. It is to behold with reverence and awe His greatness and power and love.”
The Children And The Storm
I heard a story of two children left alone to care for their five-year-old brother. During a storm the older children cried in fear. The five-year-old brother said, “Stop crying. Don't you suppose God knows His business?”
The little bird sits serenely on the branch lashed by the wind which threatens to cast it down. The bird keeps singing. It has an alternative to destruction. The bird has wings!
Let us not tremble and lament over what the world is coming to. Let us rather rejoice in the first coming of Jesus to this world to redeem it, and in His second coming to rule in glory, with justice and righteousness and peace. And while we wait may we lose our fears in self-giving love and service for Christ and for others.
His eye is on the sparrow and I know he cares for me. (Read Matthew 10:29-31.) Jesus says, “Don't be afraid”. He knows His business. He has everything under control.
Fear can be a healthy emotion, but also a block to abundant living. The “fear nots” of the Bible reassure me.
More Words of Hope
“Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10