Updated: Jan 30, 2021
Generally I have not been the kind of person who has enjoyed studying the book of Revelation. I've been more comfortable with the ostrich approach... head in the sand, more in the zone of "God's going to do what he is going to do" rather than looking for the signs and thinking about the coming apocalypse. However, given our current world circumstances I felt compelled, so, this morning I started in chapter 1.
John, who wrote Revelation tells about hearing a loud voice behind him instructing him what to write. He turned toward the voice and was met with the vision of the glorious, powerful, mighty God. It was so overwhelming that he fainted. Then John said "He placed his right hand upon me and said: "Do not be afraid".
In the following few chapters, over and again as John writes God's message to the church, he punctuates each section with the phrase "He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches".
The repetition of that phrase got me to thinking about what other things God has spoken, also repetitively, through the rest of his Word. Love and all the ways love looks and sounds is the repetitive theme throughout the Bible. Another prevalent theme is that we need not be afraid. I've heard that "fear not", "be not afraid" and the like is mentioned 365 times throughout the Bible... once for every day of the year. I don't know if that is true or not, but I do know that God said it a lot and it was usually attached to the idea that he was with us and his protection was over us and around us. His love for us is so great and his power so complete that if we trust him and walk with him he will be a refuge for us... safety.
When my kids were little I remember the common practice of establishing a family secret code word. This was so that if someone besides family needed to pick them up or give them a ride somewhere they would need to identify themselves as "safe" by knowing that family word.
When God placed his mighty and gentle hand on John and said "Do not be afraid" I can't help but think that those words resonated in his soul... those familiar words... that family code "Fear Not" that God had said so many times before. John could rest assured that even though what he was encountering was overwhelming him, he need not fear anything.
During "these uncertain times" when I look at how shaky everything has become I realize how many unsteady and unstable things I've put "faith" in. My good health may or may not keep me from illness. It certainly cannot keep me from death. I see corruption. I see governors and governments failing and falling. I notice otherwise like-minded friends, family and churches become divided by various philosophies. Fear easily creeps in. I wonder and weigh out what is true. The virus! The numbers are surging! Riots! Murder hornets! Projections! Fauci! The continual media and social narrative is telling us to be afraid.
The language of our Enemy is darkness and fear. He tells us to be afraid.
Be Very Afraid.
But, if we have had the ears to hear what God has told us... and the heart that really wants to know God, then during these dark, trying days and those to come we will be able to recognize and discern what is right, and know who to follow and what to believe, because we will know the sound of our true Savior's voice. We will recognize his character and his ways and who is not about his business. We will feel his strong hand on our back and recall his familiar code words.
The language of the Savior is Light and faith and hope and unity.
Be Not Afraid.