Psalm 49:5-7 Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me, those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches? Truly, no ransom avails for one's life, there is no price one can give to God for it.
Why should I fear?
Most of don’t aren’t afraid – life, while it may not always have everything we can imagine, is pretty good. Think of all the ordinary things we do every day, without even a thought. In fact, it has been claimed that we are living in a time when most people have no fear of anything, for all things are possible – opportunities are endless. There is a down side, as without some proper fear, there is no respect. In fact, a healthy fear, means that we are aware that our actions may have adverse consequences. So, a certain fear, is part of basic common sense.
Why should I fear in times of trouble?
What is a time of trouble? If we define that as any time things are out of our control, and things are not going as we would like. If things aren’t in our control, and that often happens, we would at least like them to be going our way. Sometimes, they are not in our control, and they are not going our way – and that’s a time of trouble – and its trouble because we don’t have the power to do anything about it – its going to happen. It is in this kind of situation science fiction can sometimes help – by imagining something that would again give us control of things. The time machine that lets us freeze time – so we can get over and catch the vase before it falls and breaks.
But some things are not the sort that imagination can make them seem less frightening, and then – knowing that there is nothing we can do – knowing it is not what we wanted – we watch as it comes – and there is nothing we can do – it is a helpless feeling – and we don’t like to feel helpless.
Great! now I know why I am fearful. – Let me tell you – knowing why I am afraid doesn’t lessen the fear – and it certainly doesn’t make me feel better. You see, fear is not a rational process, you cannot argue yourself into being brave – it is emotions – and emotions are not rational. Reason isn’t going to remove the fear. And the wonderful thing about faith, is that faith is not rational, and faith can conquer fear.
For many year children have had fear of something that was either under the bed, or hiding in the closet – and it can be a paralyzing terror – what casts out the fear – the parent who comes into the room turns on the light, and shows us we have nothing to fear – while they often use logic to show us our fear is unreasonable – it is not the logic that makes us feel better – it is faith, that they are able to handle whatever might be under the bed – for when we were young we believed our parents could do anything. This faith, is rooted in love – and so the scripture says – perfect love cast’s out fear. But this is not by reason – it is by faith.
Now, a parents love is a reflection of the love with which God loves us, parents love, because God has already poured out his love upon them, and the love of God then overflows. So how much does God love us?
That is most of what Lent is about. Tonight we take the image of being surrounded by lots of evil people, and there is no escape – they are really out to get us, and there is nothing we can do – so what do we do? Where do we turn? To God!
You see as frightening as anything we could ever face, Jesus has already faced much worse – and when Jesus turned to God – well… we still hear his words from the cross "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
"Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, nobody knows but Jesus." And that is the point – he knows! And what’s more, he cares! For we also remember the other words from the cross – the words which give us hope – Father, forgive them! For one of the chief things that the love of God by grace through faith wants to bring to us, is the forgiveness of our sins. And if we are not afraid of God, because our sins are forgiven we can come to him with boldness and confidence.
And that is something that whoever might be standing against us just doesn’t have. We know God loves us. We know ours sins are forgiven. We know God is able to save – because Jesus has already give his life for us – and that is why, we are not afraid, because we know our Redeemer lives.