December 3, 2020
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
High School swim team members commonly use a black Sharpie pen to write each of their events and lane assignments on their forearms at a swim meet. One of my sons would add ‘J1.9’ to his arm, which is not an event or his lane assignment, but a reminder of “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I realize I have many of my own “ways” (often coping mechanisms) of handing fear when I feel it swelling in my chest. For me, I most commonly focus on what I can change, fix, or better understand in order to contain or reduce rising anxiety or fear. That’s fairly normal. Or to say it another way: that’s human. Right?
God offers us another way. He invites us to exist in his world where he is with us wherever we are. And as wonderful as this sounds, for me is still feels wildly unintuitive. I need to be reminded of it because I naturally focus on what causes fear and anxiety, forgetting God is near.
This season, there are more than the normal fear-inducing realities to life. I am seeking to remember that where fear is present, so is my Heavenly Father. Where anxiety spikes, it is not the most powerful presence. Advent is this dramatic reminder that God entered into the human mess — as promised — as a vulnerable newborn, and I know he is with me in my current fear and anxiety.
— Tim Osborn