We live in a broken and hurting world. Despite all our promise and potential, we experience pain and bear witness to the poverty of our spirits. This past Monday (1/21) was no exception as we heard the news of the fatal shooting
in Orland Square Mall.
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid,
for I am your God. I will strengthen you;
I will help you; I will hold on to you
with My righteous right hand.
- Isaiah 41:10
When we hear news of violence in our backyard, it's natural to be afraid. It's understandable that we worry about stepping outside of our homes and back into public spaces. It's also understandable that some of us are angry, upset and/or simply confused about the mix of emotions inside of us.
In the face of violence, our Scriptures offer a word of guidance - Do Not Fear. The Bible reminds us that our strength and security are found in God and God alone.
When the disciples are caught in a violent storm, fearing for their lives and crying out in fear, Jesus says, "Take heart! It is I. Don't be afraid" (Matthew 14:27).
When a synagogue ruler hears the news of his daughter's death and feels the weight of doubt and despair, Jesus says, "Don't be afraid; just believe" (Mark 5:36).
When Jesus is calling his first disciples to follow him, one of his first commands is, "Don't be afraid" (Luke 5:10).
Friends, it takes courage to live with faith. It takes conviction to guard our hearts against fear. As children of God, let's stand firm in the face of fear and violence.
Let's remind each other (and others around us) that the answer to darkness is the light. The answer to fear is faith. And the answer to all the violence that surrounds us (every day) is love - only love.