After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,
your very great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)
For quite some time I’ve heard people say that the words, “Don’t be afraid,” appear in the Bible 365 times so that there is one for every day of the year. I don’t know about you, but I’ve wondered countless times if this is true. So, finally, with the dawn of 2015, I’ve decided to track through Scripture and find out for myself. By this time next year, I’ll know definitively one way or the other whether this phrase shows up in some form or another 365 times in the Bible. Feel free to stop by from time to time and see what I discover.
What I know for sure right now is that there are enough instances to get us moving with incredible confidence into the New Year and, because it’s the beginning of a new year, I thought I’d go ahead and start with the first occurrence: Genesis 15:1 (after that, it’s going to be from here to there and there to here, but for the first one, we start with The Beginning).
(Let me say, there are a lot of ways this kind of journey can go, but I will tell you that because I am no theologian, this series is not intended to shed light on the circumstances from the time that the Scripture was written. While I believe that such things are important in studying the Bible, this is more of a personal journey to discover God’s ever-present presence and His assurance that there is nothing we need to fear if we will trust Him.)
It’s a brand new year. And while that can be incredibly freeing and euphoric, it can also be, well, paralyzing. Sometimes, we can want something so much, we can need something more than we care to admit, that we freeze in our tracks. Fear steps onto the path, stares us down and we shrink back, letting fear have its way.
Yes. Even when it comes to the blank slate of a new year.
What if I make the same mistakes?
What if I never do anything I say I’m going to do?
What if I wind up in the same dang place next year as I am right now?
What if…? What if…? What if…?
But here’s a thought.
What if you create something amazing this year?
What if you push forward, push through your fear, and do the very thing you’ve always dreamed of doing?
What if you take one step and the momentum starts you on a journey to awesome?
What if fear weren’t a factor? It doesn’t have to be, you know. We weren’t created to live in fear. We were created in the likeness and the image of God. God, who created the you, who created the world, who created the universe. God, who is love and who is truth and who is indescribable beauty. God, who is perfect and who is awesome and who is beyond our ability to imagine.
We were created in the image of God. Let that sink in for a moment.
Created in the image of God, and yet, I fear.
Or, I have feared.
But not this time. Not this year. Because do you hear that? Can you hear that whisper in your heart?
Do not be afraid.
Be still. Be quiet. Listen. Do you hear that?
Do not be afraid. I am your shield, your very great reward.
Those words spoke to Abram are for you, too.
You don’t need to be afraid. God’s got this. God’s got you. He’s your shield and He’s your reward. I don’t know what that will look like in your life. I don’t even know what it will look like in my life.
But He’s here. Emmanuel.
God’s with us. And He’s ready to lead you into the New Year in truth, beauty, boldness and love. All you have to do is follow Him. Will you?
As for me? I’m definitely letting Him lead. I’ve got the dreams, the hopes, the ideas, but He’s got the shield.
Look out 2015. I will not be afraid.