Is God there when I am afraid?

Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Whenever I consider these words a memory arises: When I was 4 or 5 I got lost in an art museum and I was anxiously and fearfully looking around until I found my family! God knows how it feels when we are in a place of uncertainty such that it affects our emotions and physical well-being. I think of the disciples when they were caught in a storm in the middle of the night. Anxiety and fear played with their minds and they thought Jesus was a ghost when He came walking on the water. Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down,” and how true that is. It even affects your physical heart.

Twice in this verse God says I am– the words He uses to identify who He is in Scripture. “I am with you and I am your God.” It is personal! “I am YOUR God.” When we are in need of reassurance that is the time we need to know God is looking out for us specifically, personally, and individually.

There are three I will promises. “I will strengthen you; make you alert, confirm you and fortify you. I will help you; surround you, protect and aid you. I will uphold, sustain, follow close and help you stay up.” These are all things God will do. He does not need our help. He alone is strong enough to do all that for us. What God is not saying is, “When you get strong then maybe I will decide to help you. Or, if you call for help the right way and a certain number of times I might give you some strength. And it is not, only if you really need it will I hold you in My hand.” But we often feel like we have to jump through all those hoops and somehow earn all these great promises. That is what Scripture calls works of the flesh, or being under law.

I like the right-hand idea. The KJV says, “…with the right hand of My righteousness.” That makes me feel very secure because God’s hand is fully righteous. And we are the righteousness of God in Christ. When God forgave our sin, He went beyond that and gave us His righteousness! We now are in perfect standing with Him not because of anything we did, but because of what another (Jesus) did for us. The thing is, when we are in the thick of some intense struggle and fear has already gained entrance into our minds, it is very hard to kick it out. The Lord understands our frailty and is never condemning, especially when we are experiencing an anxious heart. I think that is why the word surely is here. We need repeated assurance that He is right beside us, promising that He is the one who is strong. Our comforter, the Holy Spirit, is our helper. He can bring this great promise right into our hearts at the exact time we need it.

 

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