“For I, the Lord your God, hold you in my right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’”: Isaiah 41: 13
It is my firm belief that nothing happens to us that does not have a purpose in God’s plans. Wherever we are God has put us there at that particular time, place, and moment. This was reinforced to me about two weeks ago. I was sitting in my family room, looking out at our back porch. A blue jay caught my attention. He had tried to get into a sack of peanuts that I keep there to feed the squirrels. Blue jays often take advantage of this food as well. His neck was caught in one of the ties that secure the sack. The more he backed up, the tighter the string became. I tried to loosen it and could not. I went into the kitchen and picked up my scissors. As I looked at this poor struggling bird, there was a look of sheer terror as I bent down. But as soon as the string was cut loose, the blue jay rapidly took flight and escaped into a tree. Many times since, this image has come to mind and I have wondered what to make of it. Finally, it is much clearer to me.
Looking at our personal lives and the events that have dominated the news, it is clear there is no shortage of fears that could overtake us. Individuals struggle with cancer and deal with difficult treatment options. Families struggle with fears related to the COVID pandemic. Isolation has caused depression in school age children and teens, sometimes to the point of suicide. The list could go on and on. You can add your own fears or anxieties to the list.
A verse from a familiar hymn keeps coming to mind:
“Jesus! the name that calms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.
We have a multitude of Scriptures and songs that have this same sentiment. This is reassuring for two reasons. First it lets us know that it is normal for us to experience fears and anxiety from time to time. It is also reassuring for a very good reason: The Lord is always with us and promises to help us. It is like the story of the disciples who were afraid when caught in a storm at sea. Jesus reached out and calmed the storm. To me the bigger message there is that He is willing always to reach out and calm our storms. The challenge for us is to remember His promises and to turn to Him for help. It is a matter of faith and trust. It is the nature of human beings to try to handle problems on our own. At least that has been my experience. It is not that we do not have a responsibility to handle our problems, but we are not to try to “go it alone.” God steps in not only to us, but prompts others to offer to help.
Take heart. Your God is there ready and willing to set you free.