For five days last week and part of this week, I was experiencing an alarming chemo-related health problem. I’ll skip the details. Happily and thankfully, the situation is somewhat resolved, and while I’ll need more treatment for it, I’m much better now.
At the height of the problem, I was freaking out. Not quietly freaking out, but loudly insisting to God in a constant stream of talk, that He had better either make the problem stop or just take me home right then and there.
I imagine that a lot of people have had a moment like this and have said something similar to God. A moment on panic, pain, anguish or illness where we can’t take any more and the only way out that our human minds can conceive is OUT. The big out.
In my moment of panic, a still small voice said, “Do not be afraid. Fear not, for I am with you.” The Creator of the universe proceeded to remind me of time after time when He said these words to humans who were freaking out or otherwise needed to hear them.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10
For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Is 41:13
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 righteous right hand. Is 41:10
Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Rev. 1:17-18
As I was walking into a grocery store a few days ago, I noticed some champagne bottles drawn on their specials sign, with the words Happy New Year. Oh yeah. I had been occupied with Christmas and what was going on with me and had pretty much forgotten the approaching new year. I was suddenly filled with dread and yes, fear for what the upcoming year might hold. What if the cancer grows, what if I start to go downhill, what if this is my last year… Yet I know that God’s message to me in the middle of my panic didn’t apply to that one moment only. He intends His peace to cover the acute fear and the gradual fear. The long term, mounting dread kind of fear as well as the short term, help-me-out-of-this-now! kind.
I like to translate some of the “Fear not” phrases as, “Don’t worry. Everything is going to be alright.” That is God’s message for me about this coming new year. It can be your message, too.