I made a mistake the other evening. Just before I went to bed, I scanned the headlines on my computer. Just when I thought things could not possibly get any worse in our country, worse is now on steroids.
The United States Senate had just confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States a person who, in her own words, cannot define what a woman is. She also has a well-known history of being astonishingly soft on pedophiles and other malicious criminals. And now this same person will be responsible for interpreting the constitution of the United States for the next three or four DECADES.
I tried to put the news about the vile confirmation out of my mind and I went to bed. The next morning when I padded out to the kitchen to make some coffee, my mind went back to what I’d read the night before, and a dark presence of fear hovered over me. I tried to shake it off but could not. My country is happily swimming in a moral sewer.
And then, suddenly, the Holy Spirit broke into my thoughts. He reminded me God is not the author of fear. Satan is. Neither is God the author of confusion. Satan is. God is not the author of spiritual darkness. Satan is. And Satan knows his time of freedom is rapidly growing short. That’s why, while he still has time, he works incessantly to instill fear into the hearts of men and women because he understands the power of fear.
In His parable of the Sower, Jesus warned, “The worries of the world . . . enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” And don’t think for a nanosecond that Satan doesn’t know that parable. He knows fear can paralyze us. It can make us unfruitful for Christ. No wonder he wants us all – especially the Christian – to live with fear.
Fear causes rational men and women to do, think, and believe irrational things. Fear paralyzes us.
I know how fear can paralyze. I lived with irrational fear for weeks when my wife had her stroke in early 2019. For example, I still and vividly remember when I visited her in the ICU one afternoon as she sat in a chair by her bed, still attached to a tangle of wires and tubes. She told me she was thirsty, so I placed a large cup of iced tea on the bedside table in front of her. A few minutes later a priest I’d invited to come and anoint her with oil for healing knocked on the door. I motioned him into the room, and I stood to move the table away from her chair so he could get close to her. But as I moved the table, I jostled the iced tea and the entire contents spilled into Nancy’s lap.
But I just stood there, mouth open, stunned, staring at my wife now covered with ice cubes and cold tea. And I did not at all know what to do to help her. I was paralyzed by the sight of ice and water pooling in her lap.
Thankfully, the priest had his wits about him. He rushed over, scooped the ice cubes from her lap with his hands, and helped the nurse get Nancy something dry to wear. And all the while I stood off to the side, watching as strangers came to the aid of my wife.
Yes, I know about paralyzing fear.
Jesus said to us: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14). And St. Paul wrote to young Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and sound judgment” (2 Timothy 1).
Fear and worry about the chaos and the growing evil around us will, if we let it, paralyze us from proclaiming to the world walking in darkness that they don’t have to walk in darkness anymore. They don’t have to fear what the devil is doing to our country and to our families. The Almighty One tells us the nations are like a drop from a bucket. They’re like a speck of dust on the scales (Isaiah 40). Such specks of dust include the President, all the members of the Supreme Court of the United States, every member of Congress, and each state governor and city mayor.
God tells us they are all – collectively and individually – as nothing and meaningless before Him.
Get that. Nothing and meaningless.
Christian, Scripture assures us that we who are in Christ have the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5). Further, God tells us that the righteous are as bold as a lion (Proverbs 28).
And if there EVER was a time to be bold as a lion, it is today – because the lion of Judah, who is King of kings and Lord of lords – the Lion of Judah is OUR Lord and our Father. That means you and I are invincible – INVINCIBLE – until He alone says we are not.
Oh, may this word from God's lips to our heart encourage us once again: “I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies and of the son of man who is made like grass, that you have forgotten the Lord your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, as he makes ready to destroy? (Isaiah 51).
Yes, let not your heart be troubled.