“Fear not . . .” Isaiah 43:1
“Fear not” — words that make us stand a little straighter and feel a little stronger. “Fear not,” (and words of a similar context) are found in the Bible more than a hundred times. We’re taught that fear and faith cannot coexist. A fearful saint is not a faithful saint. But if you — like me — find yourself in a tumultuous situation, that contrast between the two extremes is a very real and present tension. Like the father in Mark 9, we find ourselves pleading — “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (v. 24). Over and over I pray: “God, I know You’ve got this. I know you are faithful. I know You will never leave me nor forsake me. But I’m scared God. I don’t want to be. I’m trying not to be. But I am.” And He understands. He doesn’t chide or rebuke me — He just gives me reasons not to fear.
Fear not . . . for God has heard (Gen. 21:18)
Fear not for I am with you (Gen. 26:24) (My favorite)
Do not be afraid, the Lord will fight for you (Deut. 3:22)
Do not be afraid . . . for the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut. 31:6)
Fear not; I will help you (Isa. 41:13)
Today, at the suggestion of my sister-in-love, I’ve been meditating in Isaiah 43 and found some incredible words of hope that fit my life perfectly:
“This is what the Lord says — He who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters” (v. 16); “I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (v. 19).
At this moment I am both drowning in the sea and wandering through a desert. Seems as odd as faith mingled with fear but let me explain. My emotions seem like an overflowing river, thoughts rushing this way and that, pulling me under and threatening to take my very breath. For a split second I come up for air — “I believe!” In the next the waves crash over my head again — “But I am afraid!” God promises to make a way — a path through the waters of fearful thoughts and discouragement that threaten to drown me. He promises dry ground to cross over to the other side.
Yet I am in the desert where nothing grows and all seems lost — walking through a season of drought. Health issues. Disability. Unemployment. Multiple applications with no nibbles. Interviews with “no thank you.” Watching the funds dwindle as the provisions dry up. The reality of what we’re facing beats down like the scorching sun as we wander looking for an oasis. God promises to make a way here too — to provide streams in this wasteland . Mind you not to drown us like the sea, but to refresh and restore us.
He meets our needs for rescue and refreshing. He gives us dry ground and cool springs. He never fails to notice us wherever we are — even when we’re in two places at once. Oh, my drowning, wandering friend — let me throw you a lifeline of hope. You don’t have to fear because God hears you, He is with you, He fights for you, He will never leave nor forsake you, and He promises to help you. He knows where you are right now, and He knows what you need right here. He will make a way.
 The NIV records some 110 references; other translations will have a slightly different word count. Despite how good is sounds, there are actually not 365 “Fear not” verses.