But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”-
Do not be afraid. Easier said than done, right?
A friend contacted me recently and shared he was afraid he was about to lose his job. The potential loss of anything or anyone of value to us produces fear.
Bad news can cause fear. Many of us have received an unexpected phone call that broadsided us with disturbing news. A loved one in a wreck. A life threatening medical diagnosis. Death of a child.
Whenever something threatens our well-being, jeopardizes our normal existence, or thrusts us into an unexpected, unplanned, and unwanted direction the natural result is fear.
Mary’s fear was produced by the sudden appearance of an angel from God. In an instant, she was hit with the unexpected and the unfamiliar. Just an unexplained noise in the middle of the night can cause fear. Imagine the sudden appearance of a heavenly being. Additionally, Mary had to deal with a message from God that would radically change her life.
Before the pronouncement of God’s message the angel declared, “Do not be afraid.”
Throughout the Bible, God comforts His people by exhorting them to “fear not.” (Isaiah 41:10)
When Joshua faced the challenge of leading the people of Israel into the Promised Land, God told him to be of good courage. “Be strong. Be courageous. Be very strong. Be very courageous.” (Joshua 1:6-7) In other words, “Do not be afraid.”
In the story of the nativity, when the angels appeared to the shepherds in the field they were told, “Fear not!” (Luke 2:10)
In the early 80s, I was a morning radio DJ in Tampa, Florida. I had built up considerable vacation time and planned my first 2-week vacation ever. Janet and I had laid out an elaborate travel plan that would include stops at the homes of friends and family scattered across the eastern United States. We expected a great vacation experience.
A day before we left on our trip ratings came out. And they weren’t good. In fact, they were horrible. In radio, bad ratings generally meant loss of job. It was frightening news.
We still continued with our vacation plans but all along the way, I was gripped by fear over my fate. I expected that when I returned, I would be greeted by an empty desk and no job.
As we visited family and friends, I was distracted by fearful anxiety. It was the inner turmoil that makes you physically sick. I went to bed with fear, and I woke up with it.
One of our stops was at my grandmother’s house. My mother was in a nursing home, and many of her belongings were stored in an upstairs bedroom. It was there I sought a place of solitude to sort out the many thoughts racing through my mind. I prayed for God’s help.
On the bed sat a metal box. Inside, there were documents, cards, and papers of value to my mother. As I sorted through the contents, my eyes were drawn to three words on a piece of paper. “Faith conquers fear.”
As I considered those words, my fear lifted. I realized that greater than my fear problem was my faith problem. I was suffering from a faith failure, looking at my circumstances and not at God.
On the way home, early in the morning, we were driving through the mountains near the Roanoke Valley of Virginia. My wife and son were asleep, and I was taking in the beauty of the misty landscape, all the while praying. Before me was a giant God-made cathedral in which I worshiped the King of Kings. I was overwhelmed by the presence and magnificence of God. Faith had conquered fear.
On my first day back at work, I was called into my boss’s office. He said, “We had to let the Program Director go. I want you to take his place.” No, I didn’t get fired. I got a promotion.
The angel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.” Or as this verse is rendered in the KJV: “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.”
God honors our faith with favor. What are you afraid of today? Remember, “Faith in Christ conquers fear of circumstances.” Do not be afraid.
Here’s a little assignment that emphasizes how faith conquers fear. Reference the following verses:
This theme has stuck with me through the years, enough to write a novel about it. It’s called In the Valley of Hope: Faith Conquers Fear.
Again I say, “Do not be afraid. Have faith in God, because faith conquers fear.”
For more on this topic, check out this article: How to Find Peace in a Chaotic World
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.