When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.
As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed”, he said, “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here! See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you'”
Trembling and bewildered, the woman went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
Fear. Anxiety. Unease. Alarm. Worry. Stress. Just recently, I’ve learned that although we have different words to describe our feelings, they’re really all the same emotion, dressed up differently. They all boil down to this: Not trusting God.
It was no secret that Jesus was going to die then be raised back to life. He told his friends the plan, but when it came to fruition, they were freaked out! To the ladies at the tomb, it just didn’t make sense- they saw him die, he should be in the grave. They came expecting one thing and what they got instead scared them! The guys had their turn to be freaked out as well. There they are, trying to make sense of everything that had happened in the past few days, when Jesus appears in the middle of them. “They were startled and frighted…and they still didn’t believe.” (Luke 24:36-44)
Remember when the disciples we’re out on the lake, struggling to row into the wind and waves? Jesus walked across the lake, I think, just to check up on his friends. They’d seen Jesus do amazing things before, things that are way out of the ordinary, things that just don’t make any sense at all, but still, when they saw their friend walking on the water, it was too much. They were terrified! (Mark 6:45-52)
Or consider the transfiguration. Peter, James and John had watched their friend do miraculous healings and command the wind and the waves…you’d think they’d be used to Jesus freaking them out by now. Jesus takes them up and is like , Wanna see something really cool? Watch this, guys! These are by buddies, you recognize Moses and Elijah, don’t you? That was a lot to take in, and they mostly played it cool, making plans to start a little building project, but when God had something to say about it, they lost it! Jesus had been telling them about his Father this whole time, but when he enters into the story, it was really too much for their brains to make sense of, they fall flat on their faces, scared out of their minds! (Matthew 17:1-9)
On one hand, it’s like, come on guys! Get used to Jesus doing the unexpected, the things that don’t make any sense… he tells you over and over “Don’t be afraid”…so why do you keep getting freaked out?! But we do it too, don’t we?! When we’re worried or stressed or terrified, I think it’s because we’re having a hard time trusting that God is still in control, that he sees the bigger picture and that, as long as we stick close to him, he’ll get us to the other side of whatever obstacle is looming before us.
Over and over the bible repeats do not be afraid, do not fear, do not be anxious…it keeps telling us the same thing because we need a LOT of reminders. When I’m starting to feel anxious or nervous or fearful, I try to visualize the verse, “Perfect love drives out fear”. He has already offered us his perfect love, all we have to do is fling open the door, and let it fill us up and wash everything else away! When we are full of his love and confident in his promises, there’s no room for fear (or stress or worry or any other word we use that is code for not trusting Him) Trade your fear for his love.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…
1 John 4:18
You can’t have both your fear and His love…so which do you choose today?
Whatever you’re facing, and however it manifests, whether it be stress or anxiety or terror or whatever it may be, bring that to your Father who loves you! Throw open the door and let his perfect love wash over you. He loves you, He has a plan for you, He’s with you. Bring it to Him, and keep bringing it to Him, whenever those fears resurface. Let those pesky fears be a reminder to….
“…not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”.