The Lord says, “I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.”
Through death Jesus might free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death.
We go to great lengths to factor fear and trouble out of our lives. We install sophisticated security systems in our homes and cars. We avoid bad sections of town. We insure our homes, health, cars, income, lives, and investments. We hire experts to fix our computers, home automation systems, health, and financial mismanagement.
These actions, however, may be more motivated by fear than we would like to admit. And sometimes our best efforts to insure, secure, and insulate our lives from trouble fail. Even the experts we hire or the insurance we purchase don’t always prevent or fix the issues at hand. So we numb our minds with thoughtless entertainment, distract ourselves with sports events, and do what we can to ignore the troubles and fears of life.
When the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the realities of our sinful world and self do break in, the promises of God’s presence and redemption shine like beacons in the darkest of nights.
Jesus’ death has freed us from slavery to the greatest fear of all: the fear of death. The greatest and most unavoidable threat has been conquered. We need not fear. And even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God’s promised presence comforts us.
God’s calling and gifts are that we no longer must live in fear, or let the troubles of this world define us. Rather, rejoicing in our freedom in Christ, and relying on the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, we have confidence in the face of trouble and courage in the face of fear. Troubles and death do not define us. They are the venues of God’s faithfulness and occasions for God’s goodness to shine through.