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What Are You Afraid Of?

by | Jul 25, 2023 | Faithfulness, Fear, Presence

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the One who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For Your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 8:31-39)

I think all of us harbor secret terrors in our minds—things we try not to think about, because they frighten us so badly. I have a special horror of not being able to breathe, probably due to my asthma. For others it will be different—spiders or public speaking, heights or a particular disease. Still others dread evils from the past—abuses from childhood, attacks and crimes, the horror of war.

These fears can be amazingly powerful. And yet, even against them, St. Paul tells us that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”—that is, through Jesus our Savior. Why? Is it because we will never feel those fears again? Hardly. That would take a miracle for most of us, and we are still human and far from perfect as we wait for Jesus’ second coming. Is it because none of those things will ever happen to us? That, too, is something God doesn’t guarantee—just look at what happened to the apostles!

Then what does the apostle Paul mean?

Simply that none of these things, terrifying as they are, can separate us from Jesus our Life, who died and rose to make us His own. Whether the evils we fear happen to us or not, Jesus will not allow those things to destroy us. We may suffer greatly, we may even die—but we will not be ripped out of Jesus’ hands. Nothing the world can do to us will make Jesus turn away from us or stop loving us. Nothing can destroy us so thoroughly that He cannot restore us; nothing can shame or defile us to the point that He will stop loving us. Whatever comes to us, Jesus holds us in the palm of His hand; and He will raise us at the Last Day, victorious and joyful with Him, healed and well and whole again.

Then what? Life with Him and all His people forever in His kingdom, where “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4b). Jesus remains forever. And us with Him.

We Pray: Dear Savior, when I am terrified, help me to lean on You, knowing You will never desert me. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on July 26, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights

Reflection Questions:
1. What is a particular fear of yours that you are willing to share?
2. When you think of something that terrified you, how do you find help in Jesus? What do you do?
3. What are three or four things you are overjoyed to know will not be a part of God’s kingdom?