365 days in a year.
365 times in the Bible God or Jesus or an angel says, “Do not be afraid.”
No doubt you have heard someone say, “Do not be afraid” before.
No doubt you have said this to yourself.
And still, there are so many things that it seems so reasonable to fear.
What if I try and it doesn’t work out so well?
What if it breaks and it can’t be fixed?
What if the safety net is not strong enough to catch me—or that person I love?
Fear just seems realistic.
And sometimes what we fear is real. There are things worth being afraid of. But we can get stuck in our own fear, our own “what if’s”. And that fear can make us anxious, controlling, judgmental, unforgiving—because it has the power to isolate and paralyze the impulses that would make us generous, whole-hearted, kind.
Something I read recently woke me up to a pattern in the Gospels that I hadn’t noticed before: that each of the disciple Peter’s bumblings around Jesus can be explained as a product of his anxiety…a fear that many of us can identify with, a fear that he struggled with, visibly. I find that thought sort of comforting!
Those are the stories I’ll be mining for their lessons in the series of sermons that begin this coming Sunday. Each of their titles begins with the words, “What if…”
This week: What If I Sink?
I hope you’ll join me for these observations of Peter’s fear…and our own.
And some moments to ask ourselves, “What would we do if we weren’t afraid?”
Have a good week.
See you Sunday.