I used to suffer from crippling fear that stole my sleep, health, and way of life. Eventually my fear became officially called anxiety disorder and OCD, but with or without a fancy label, fear was a part of my life. While much of my fear stemmed from these problems in my brain… some of it was just plain human fear. No matter which kind of fear a person faces, we all long for it to go away. Though some people enjoy the fear-based adrenaline-rush from horror movies, none of us would enjoy our lives becoming a horror film.
Isaiah 43:1-2 says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (ESV Is. 43:1b–2).
In this passage, God spoke to His people through the prophet Isaiah during the decline of Israel just before the Assyrian conquest and exile. It was meant as a hope-filled encouragement, letting them know that despite the future suffering, God had not abandoned them. He would be with them through everything they faced because they belonged to Him.
We all pass through our fair share of floods and fires. We walk through seasons where we are in over our heads, we are overwhelmed and drowning, and we don’t know which way is up. Sometimes life just hurts. People or circumstances burn us, and the pain consumes us from the inside out.
During these times, we fear what we might lose before we get to the other side. I have even found myself overwhelmed by the dread of these seasons, unable to enjoy the good things in life because I am too afraid of what might happen.
Have you ever felt this way? Most of us have.
The phrases “Do not fear,” “Do not be afraid,” “Fear not,” and “Do not worry” appear in the Bible over three-hundred and fifty times. Clearly, God does not call us to a spirit of fear (Romans 8:15).How can we never be afraid? Because God’s voice is the voice that truly matters, not the fearful voices inside your head or in the world. Click To Tweet
How is this possible? How can we never be afraid? Fear seems to be an unavoidable part of life.
God Himself provides us with the answer to this question. Because God’s voice is the voice that truly matters, not the fearful voices inside your head or in the world—let’s consider His words through Isaiah.
God Says, “I have redeemed you.”
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you…” The Hebrew term here means “I am your redeemer, rescuer, or avenger.” God sent Jesus to earth for that very purpose. He is our Rescuer from death and sin. He is our avenger. That term may bring to your mind Marvel’s superheroes, and you aren’t too far off with that thought.
Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Then the apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:4, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
Our redeemer, our rescuer, our avenger. He is our hero; He has overcome the whole world—we are conquerors through Him by our faith. When our faith is in the God who redeems us, we have no need to fear.Jesus is our hero; He has overcome the whole world—we are conquerors through Him by our faith. When our faith is in the God who redeems us, we have no need to fear. Click To Tweet
Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” Nothing bad that has ever happened to us has ever taken Him by surprise. He knows, and He has already beaten it. When we are afraid, we must remember this; it won’t take the fear away, but it will bring us peace.
Approach some people you trust about being an accountability partner because sometimes, we can’t do it on our own, we were never meant to.
God Says, “I have called you by name.”
In John 10:2-4 Jesus said, “But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (emphasis added).
Jesus is the Shepherd, and we are His sheep. Likewise, in the Isaiah passage God said, “I have called you by name… You are mine…”
In the Bible when it says God knows something by name, it means He knows it intimately, inside and out, and that it belongs to Him.
God calls us by name, and we are His, and we can follow Him without fear because He is our Good Shepherd.God calls us by name, and we are His, and we can follow Him without fear because He is our Good Shepherd. Click To Tweet
Many people have started watching the show The Chosen, and this verse recalls a scene from season one. Mary is broken and alone, haunted by demons, and no one knows her real name, she has been called only Lilith for years. Then Jesus walks onto the scene and calls her by name: Mary. He knows her and she belongs to Him. It’s a very potent scene because it shows something that we all long for, to be known and belong.
These can be a major motivator for fear in our lives. We fear that our friends, significant others, and families don’t need, want, or care about us as much as we may hope. So, in fear, we exhaust ourselves trying to be indispensable to them. But God wants the knowledge that He knows and loves us to dispel that fear.
This can be hard to remember, so make a list of scriptures to read to yourself out loud when you feel the fear creeping in. Scriptures that remind you that you belong to Christ, and His love for you is strong enough to cast out fear.
God Says, “I will be with you.”
In Matthew 28:20 Jesus declared, “I will be with you, even until the end of the age.” Not only do we not have to be afraid because we are rescued by God, or belong to God, but also because we are always with God.
In Isaiah 43:1-2, God says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
Notice here that God does not promise to remove the fires and floods from our lives, only that He will be with us through them. We will still go through scary and frightening things in this life, but God will stand next to us the whole time.
Just stop and think about what we have seen so far. God is a rescuer and avenger who has completely redeemed us. God knows us inside and out, He loves us, and we belong to Him. It is this God who is always with us. Why would we ever need to fear?God is a rescuer and avenger who has completely redeemed us. God knows us inside and out, He loves us, and we belong to Him. It is this God who is always with us. Why would we ever need to fear? Click To Tweet
Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”
This mindset can be hard to keep since we live in a broken and scary world. What can we do to keep God’s presence with us in the forefront of our minds? Record when you see that God is with you through suffering in your life. It allows you to look back at what God has done in the past and remember that He is still with you now.
On That Day
Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
This is why we do not have to be afraid. It won’t make all the fear go away, but it does give us hope.
Which one of these points stuck out to you the most? Which aspect of God do you most struggle to remember? I encourage you to take some time to pray and ask God for guidance. How does He want you to tackle your fear? Maybe the first step for you is recognizing that you struggle with fear in the first place.
I still struggle with fear. I have battled with it for a long time, and I don’t think I will ever beat it completely. That’s not possible in the broken world we live in on this side of eternity—but it will be possible someday:
when the God who redeems us, makes us His own, and is always with us, makes the world whole and perfect once more.
On that day, every tear and every fear will be wiped away.When the God who redeems us, makes us His own, and is always with us, makes the world whole and perfect once more, every tear and every fear will be wiped away. Click To Tweet