Be Strong, Do not Fear!
Some of the Lord's people are naturally timid and fearful. They need much encouragement — and for such, the Lord has provided much encouragement in his holy word. He has also commanded his servants to encourage and comfort them. This they often find to be a difficult task — but through the Lord's blessing, it is rendered effectual. To his servants now, he speaks as he did to his servant of old, stating, "Say to those with fearful hearts: Be strong, do not fear; your God will come . . . He will come to save you." Isaiah 35:4
THE OBJECTS OF DIVINE SYMPATHY. The fearful, the timid. Those who have faith — but it is weak, in whom unbelief works powerfully, who not only disbelieve much that they ought to believe — but they often misbelieve, applying to others — what belongs to themselves, and applying to themselves — what belongs to others. They generally look at the dark side of everything; they see the cloud — but not its golden fringe. They are afraid of men — especially relatives, determined foes, or lofty professors of religion. They are afraid of Satan — trembling before him, instead of resisting him. They are afraid of God — looking at him through the medium of his broken law, or some frowning providence, instead of beholding his glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
Even Moses said, under such circumstances, "I exceedingly fear and quake!" And Manoah said," We shall surely die!" Such fearful ones are generally hasty or rash, drawing wrong conclusions, and needlessly afflicting their own souls. But in reference to such, God gives,
THE COMMAND. "Say to those with fearful hearts," as from God who loves and sympathizes with them — in order to correct and reprove them — also to encourage and comfort them: "Be strong," or be bold, courageous and undaunted. "Do not fear." Do not fear, for God is at peace with you, God is for you, God is with you, and God will appear to deliver you, fill you with joy, and enable you to rejoice in his great name. You have his promise — trust in it. You have the history of his saints — draw comfort from that. Be strong in faith, for the word of God is true, and God who spoke the word is faithful. Be strong, and expect . . .
the deliverance you need,
the mercies you require,
and the supplies you ask for.
We should ever be ready to sympathize with the timid — for God sympathizes with such. As weak as they are — God is able to make them stand. As fearful though they be — as their day, so shall their strength be.
The Lord listens to their sighs,
he registers their groans,
he is affected with their cries,
and he will arise and save them!
Timid soul, look to Jesus, He never breaks a bruised reed like you; nor quenches a weak faith, which resembles the smoking flax, as yours does. As the weak ivy entwines round the sturdy oak tree — so you must cling to Jesus, and entwine about him; so doing, He will sustain you, strengthen you, and glorify his powerful grace in you.
We should endeavor to strengthen the weak . . .
by presenting the precious promises,
by leading them afresh to Jesus, and
by speaking to them of our own personal experience.
We should endeavor to animate, embolden, and encourage them. These lambs are the Shepherd's especial care, he gathers them with his arm, and carries them in his bosom. These burdened ones He gently leads along life's rough, and uphill road. In them — his grace is glorified; and in them — his tenderness is displayed.
These fearful ones have really nothing to fear — for . . .
the eye of the Lord is ever upon them,
the everlasting arms of the Almighty are ever beneath them, and
the strong hand of the Most High is ever stretched out to defend them!
Do not fear, then my poor timid brother — for Jesus assures you that it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Do not fear, for though a troop may overcome you now, you shall overcome at the last. Be strong, my poor fearful sister — for our God gives power to the faint, and to those who have no might, He increases strength. You therefore shall renew your strength — to the praise and glory of his grace.