04 Oct, 2017

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

04 Oct, 2017
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Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

by Louise Westfall

The Word in Scripture

Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Isaiah 43:1 But now thus says the Lord, the one who created and formed you: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine … you are precious in my sight, and I love you.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

Reflect on the Word

What makes you afraid? How do you respond to fear?

Fear is a toxic, destructive dynamic in human life. Yet it is common to all of us. Relationship challenges; job stress; financial worries; feeling overwhelmed with all you have responsibility for — not one of us is completely free from fear on a daily basis. In addition to personal concerns, there are national and global realities that heighten anxiety about peace, justice, earth care, human rights and more.

The Bible overflows with exhortations to “be not afraid!” and “fear not!” They often come before God’s call to do something perceived as difficult, challenging and sacrificial. I wonder if they’re intended less as a spiritual pep talk and more as a vivid reminder that God’s presence with us can allay fears and give us courage to say yes to God’s call to action. When we are filled with God’s power, we can begin to let go of fear and choose faith, love, and hope.

I read about the conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, Karim Wasfi, who has made a regular practice of playing his cello at sites destroyed by the persistent violence and warfare in that nation. He says, almost every aspect of life in Iraq has been turned into a battle and war zone. I try to turn every corner of Iraq into a spot for civility, beauty, and compassion.

May we learn to live each day — if not completely fearlessly — at least faithfully, confident of God’s presence and love working in and through us. Fear not!

Pray

Following the tragic church shootings in South Carolina, Mark Miller composed music to these words. Let them be our prayer today:

In the midst of pain, I choose love. In the midst of pain, sorrow falling down like rain, I await the sun again, I choose love.

In the midst of war, I choose peace. In the midst of war, hate and anger keeping score, I will seek the good once more, I choose peace.

When my world falls down, I will rise. When my world falls down, explanations can’t be found, I will climb to holy ground, I will rise.

In the midst of pain, I choose love. In the midst of pain, sorrow falling down like rain, I await the sun again, I choose love.

Make an intention

Notice the situations or encounters that produce anxiety in you. Hold them in your mind for a few minutes while you breathe this prayer a few times: God is with me; I won’t be afraid. God is with me; I won’t be afraid.  God is with me; I won’t be afraid.

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