Updated: Apr 30
You may be afraid right now. We haven't ever experienced a global pandemic before and the fallout from it.
Perhaps you are afraid for your health - that you are at risk and might get COVID-19. Or the health of a loved one who is vulnerable. Perhaps you are going through a different health crisis in the middle of this pandemic. I personally know three people who are in a full-out fight against cancer right now. That alone is enough to make you afraid, but add on the additional stress of possibly contracting a virus as you seek your cancer treatment. Or perhaps you are about to have a child, worried about delivering a baby possibly without your spouse into the craziness of this world right now.
Or perhaps your fears are of the financial kind. You are out of work right now like millions of others. You have depleted your savings and wonder how you are going to pay your mortgage, your car payment, your bills,... or even feed your family. Perhaps the business or career you have poured your life into is about to go under. How will you recover from this? What does the future hold?
Perhaps your fear is from some other source. Your loved one is alone in a nursing home and you can't be with them. Your loved one is battling COVID-19 on a ventilator and you can't be with them. Your loved one died and you can't be there to grieve with your family.
You are afraid. You try to get rest and you toss and turn all night. Your heart palpitates. Your heart is heavy.
Being afraid is a terrible thing to be.
Isaiah tells us of such fear. King Ahaz of Judah knew the mighty armies of King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel were camped at Ephraim, immediately north of Judah. The Assyrian Empire was expanding westward. Syria and Israel had formed an alliance against Assyria and wanted Judah to enter it with them. Judah had refused and they were going to attack Judah and "terrorize" it. King Ahaz was so afraid he was thinking about asking the brutal Assyrians for help. Isaiah 7:2 tells us "his heart and the hearts of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake with the wind."
Have you known such fear? The kind of terror that makes you shake?
We quake when we seem to have no defense against something. Terrified when we are at the mercy of an enemy, whether it be an invading army, disease, debt or disasters. We feel powerless. But we do have a defense! We have the stronghold of the word of God.
God reminded King Ahaz that it is He who is in control. "Take care and be calm, have no fear and do not be fainthearted because of..." (see verse 4.) The enemies had planned evil against him (see verse 5.) But thus says the Lord GOD: "It shall not stand nor shall it come to pass" (see verse 7.)
We stand on the very same mighty stronghold. We are safe. No power on Earth can shake our Rock.
We take comfort in that truth. He is our Rock of our salvation. All that happens to us is restrained by His hand. We need not fear our enemies.
However, the lesson for us is not finished. King Ahaz was faced with a choice. Who would he trust: the LORD or the Assyrians? The LORD also told King Ahaz, "If you will not believe, you surely shall not last" (see verse 9.) I like how my Christian Standard Bible translates the Hebrew. "If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all."
And there is the final truth for all of us who are afraid right now. God is in control of what happens to us. He is our impregnable Rock and we are safe with Him. But it all hinges on our belief.
Take care and be calm. Have no fear. Believe. Stand firm in your faith.