Do Not Be Afraid!
Faith and fear often inhabit the same heart, and they often come into contact, which accounts for many of the severe conflicts which the Lord's people feel. Faith is drawn forth and appears strong — then suddenly some circumstance arises which seems to give it a death-blow, and the most painful fears are awakened. Whenever this is the case, we may hear our Lord speaking to us as to one of old, "do not be afraid — only believe." Mark 5:36
DO NOT BE AFRAID. It is natural to fear, but it is often injurious — and it is at times sinful. It is difficult to restrain fear — and yet we are required to do it. Like the ruler, we have come to Jesus for some blessing; perhaps we have no plain, positive promise; but encouraged by his character, we come and appeal to his mercy.
We come for deliverance from some powerful temptation. Or, we come for the light of his countenance and inward peace. Or, for power in prayer, and the enjoyment of God's presence at the mercy seat. Or, we come to him for others, for the conversion of a child, a brother, a wife, or some other relation or friend. Or it may be, we come to plead for the Church, that God would revive it, increase it, unite it, and make it holy and happy.
Having laid the matter before Jesus, we plead with him, urge the matter upon him, and feel confident that he will hear and help us. But instead of an immediate answer, he delays, things get worse and worse, and we come into extremity, and are ready to give up all hope, just then Jesus says, "do not be afraid!"
Everything else seems to bid us fear, for never did the blessing seem to be further off than now. We feel . . .
our hearts sinking,
our faith staggering,
our hope dying out —
and how can we help fearing!
Jesus says, "Judge not by appearances — listen to no one but me. To me you have committed the matter — and now leave it with me. do not be afraid."
"ONLY BELIEVE." Unbelief is the root from which our fear, anxiety, and trouble springs. Faith will produce patience, peace, and expectation. Fear is a fault — faith is a Christian grace. We are required, let what will happen — to believe the character of Jesus, that he is kind and loving, true and faithful. Nothing can affect this, or produce a change in him.
We are to believe the power of Jesus — that he is able to do what we ask; yes, that he is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.
We are to believe the love of Jesus — that he is willing to do, and willing to give — whatever will be for our real welfare. Out of his own loving heart, the promise flows — and by his own almighty power the promise will be fulfilled.
We are to believe the word of Jesus, which is his bond, a bond which he cannot break. He will do — just as he has said. He will make good every promise he has given.
Fear is unfitting for a Christian. He must bring his fears to Jesus. With a heart overflowing with love, and with all power in Heaven and in earth in his possession — what ground can there be for fear? Faith is required — if we would receive from him. Nothing stands in the way, but unbelief. When one came to him saying, "If you can do anything — have compassion on us and help us." He replied, "If you can believe — all things are possible to him that believes." Just so here, "Only believe." Our confidence in Jesus honors him — and he honors our confidence in him.
No adverse circumstances should be allowed to destroy our hope. They are permitted to try us — but they should not discourage us. Though the ruler's child dies before Jesus reaches the house, he is not to fear — but still believe. He who could restore the sick — could also raise the dead. No case is too hard for Jesus. To him nothing is difficult; with perfect ease he can work the most wonderful miracle — therefore we should have confidence in him, let what will appear.
The prayerful believer is sure to succeed in the end. He who awakens prayer in the heart — will listen to it. He who bids us pray — will answer our prayer. He may delay. He may allow discouraging circumstances to arise. He may permit Satan to tempt us to doubt and fear. But he will not deny himself. He will be very gracious unto us at the voice of our cry, and will prove that the prayer of the upright is his delight.
Reader, do you pray to Jesus? Do you bring your needs to Jesus to be supplied — and your wishes that they may be granted? Do you believe that Jesus can do what you ask, and that he will? Then do not fear, however long he may make you wait, however he may try your hope and patience — still persevere. Continue to believe, hold fast by his word, cry mightily to him, and you shall obtain the blessing. Jesus receives sinners, he hears the sinner's cry, and he will give him the desire of his heart.
Blessed Jesus, whenever I am tempted to doubt or give way to fear — may I hear you sweetly whispering to my soul, "do not be afraid, only believe."