Don’t Be Afraid; Just Believe

March 19, 2017

The most terrifying moment in a believer’s life is when he is cut off from the presence of the Lord. He will surely panic as he will find himself alone, helpless and hopeless. This was the experience of King David when he found himself in a besieged city. In his alarm, he said, “‘I am cut off from your sight!’ Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help” (Psalm 31:22). He thought that he was abandoned by the Lord, but he was not. From David’s experience, we could see that there is an illusionary separation from the Lord. This kind of separation is caused by fear. But there is also a real separation which is caused by sin. Through the prophet Isaiah we are told, “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).

The separation that King David experienced was only illusionary in that he later found out that God was still with him. God still heard his cry for mercy and helped him. It was his fear that caused him to feel separated from God. No wonder Jesus himself would tell his disciples not to fear whenever they were confronted with problems. In one instance, Jesus had to rebuke the disciples for fearing that the boat they were in was going to sink as it was being battered by strong wind and waves. He said, “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). When we panic, we lose our sense of reasoning and we do things that are contrary to our faith. Although we can start walking by faith, fear can cut us off, just like what happened to the apostle Peter. When he was walking on water by faith, all was well until fear came upon him because he saw the waves and the wind. In fear, he started to sink and Jesus rebuked him saying, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31).

Like David, we panic when we don’t see the hands of the Lord in times of trouble. However, the reality is that “the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chron. 16:9). This was shown when David was running for his life. As King Saul, who was chasing after him, was about to pounce on him, suddenly the Lord moved in a supernatural way and delivered him. His cry for help was answered. This is what the apostle Paul was referring to when he said, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13).

But how do we conquer fear when we are at our wit’s end? When Jairus, a synagogue ruler, pleaded for the Lord Jesus to heal his dying daughter, he was optimistic because Jesus responded to him. However, on their way, Jesus was distracted by a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. He had to stop for a moment to deal with the woman’s case. Meanwhile, someone from Jairus’ house came to report, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher anymore?” (Mark 5:35). As far as Jairus was concerned, all hope for healing was gone. Realizing that fear was coming to grip him, Jesus said to him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (Mark 5:36). There is no other way to confront fear but to believe in God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Once fear sets in, our faith in God is compromised.

To those who do not believe, death is a hopeless case. For them, the best response is crying and wailing. This was how the household of Jairus responded to the death of his daughter. When Jesus tried to relieve their grief saying, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep,” they laughed at him (Mark 5:39). This response is still so true to this day. Many refuse to walk by faith and would mock those who do. Indeed, they will never see miracles in their own lives, just as those who laughed at Jesus. They were asked to leave and only Jairus, his wife and the disciples were able to witness the unfolding of a miracle before their eyes. They need to believe for them to see the glory of God.

As in the case of David and Jairus, we might be facing difficult challenges and we are on the brink of giving up all hope. The better response is to not fear, but just believe. Always remember that the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those who believe. This truth should encourage us to walk confidently and boldly, regardless of the challenges that we face. We should not be like the wicked; they “flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion” (Prov. 28:1). Therefore, let us put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and respond to his admonition, “Don’t be afraid; just believe”. Amen.