(Psalm) Daniel 3:57-61
Do not be terrified. (Luke 21:9)
Jesus names a long list of problems that sound all too familiar to us: earthquakes, famines and plagues, wars, and the overthrow of what seems so powerful. His counsel in the face of all this upheaval, however, is brief: “Do not be terrified” (Luke 21:9). When the existing state of affairs seems to be deteriorating and conflict is sweeping peace away, when disaster and rumor are headlines, how are we not to fear? It seems rather simplistic to say, “Don’t be alarmed; don’t panic.”
But it is that simple.
Remember, though, simple is not the same as easy. Heeding Jesus’ command here requires discipline, practice, self-control, and, especially, a deep, abiding assurance of your Father’s love for you. We’re generally pretty good with the discipline and practice side of the equation. Or at least we know what that entails and have some way of doing it. But discipline and dedication can take us only so far, and that’s why we need to immerse ourselves in God’s love.
St. Francis de Sales once advised, “Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.” The same applies when you are anxious or worried.
Spend time today (and every day) contemplating this central truth of our faith: God is taking care of you, today, tomorrow, and every day. St. Francis says that either God will shield you from suffering, or he will give you his strength and grace to bear it. You are God’s very own child, and he will lead you safely through all things, however calamitous. He holds your hand, adjusting his steps to yours, and promises to carry you in his arms when you cannot stand.
So tell Jesus what terrifies you right now, and ask him to help you. His command “Do not be terrified” is not impossible. Just try to set aside the thoughts that rob you of peace, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you new thoughts—his thoughts—on whatever is upsetting you. Write down whatever uplifting and encouraging thoughts come to you, and go back to them whenever fear rears its alarming head.
Every day, declare, “I will not be terrified,” and watch what God does.
“Jesus, hold my hand today, and whisper your thoughts to me. Lord, I want to live in your peace, unafraid of what’s ahead.”~WAU