“If God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith” (Matthew 6:30, ESV)?
How do you think God reacts to your fear? How do you believe He feels when you’re worried about your kids growing up, or you’re hopeless about the relational deficiencies that may exist in your home and family? How would you imagine Him looking on you when you’re overwhelmed by the needs of your company, or fretting over an upcoming medical exam? What do you think He would say to you if you were approaching a difficult meeting with apprehension and lack of sleep?
There’s a reason why fear is so prevalent. We live in a world consumed by fear because we live in a world without Jesus. When people don’t know Jesus, fear is epidemic. It’s why an entire segment of the English language is dedicated to fear. The root word phobia couples with a thousand different prefixes: acrophobia (fear of heights), agoraphobia (fear of crowds), claustrophobia (fear of closed spaces). Then there’s fear of lightning, fear of darkness, fear of fire . . . and they only get more bizarre and debilitating from there.
But fear is the complete state of anti-God. Never are we less of what He desires for us than when our hearts are filled with trepidation and anxiety. Panic freezes our capacity to trust and falsifies the future, giving us a distorted view of what’s ahead. Do fear and worry help anything? No. Do they manage to stave off the object of our fear? No. “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life” (Matthew 6:27)? No one.
What fear does do is negate faith. “O you of little faith.”
So you’d think, whenever you show fear, He would be ticked at you. Why are you so afraid? Come on! You know better. You’ve been taught better.
But think back. Look through Jesus’ interactions with His followers whenever He saw them afraid. It was almost a sweet thing at first, how He treated them. It grieved Him to think of them in such a state of anxiety. In the Sermon on the Mount, for example, He showed that He cared immensely about the condition of their hearts. Didn’t they know they mattered to Him more than the birds of the sky? More than the flowers in the field? If He takes care of those, wouldn’t He much more take care of them? “O you of little faith.”
Or like when their boat was being swamped by storm waves, and they woke Him up from a sound sleep to tell Him they were dying. He didn’t chastise them. He didn’t berate them. He simply said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith” (Matthew 8:26)?
Jesus Christ, who is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), always had a tender heart about their proneness to fear—and that’s His position toward ours, as well. As David said, “He knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). He understands that we’re inclined to walk by sight and not by faith instead of the other way around, as we’re told to do in 2 Corinthians 5:7. But why should we struggle with fear when we don’t have to? We are His and we have Him. Camping on those truths overcomes fear.
God knows you, He sees your situation, and He knows what you need. Don’t draw false conclusions about His heart toward you. Draw upon His love and strength for you. Don’t be afraid to live by faith.
This post originally appeared on Dr. James MacDonald’s daily devotional Our Journey and was republished with permission.
James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is the founding senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, leads the church-planting ministry of Harvest Bible Fellowship, teaches the practical application of God’s Word on the Walk in the Word radio and television programs, and is a gifted author and speaker. You can find out more about James and his ministries at WalkintheWord.org.