Do Not Be Afraid

“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.”

Revelation 1:17-19  


When we are caught off guard or are taken by surprise its not unusual for us to become frightened. That’s what happened to the apostle John on the island of Patmos. Revelation 1:9 sets the stage, “I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus.” John was writing to his “partners in suffering”, fellow believers who were being persecuted for sharing Jesus Christ as God’s only means of salvation. John was isolated on the island of Patmos, put there by the Roman emperor Domitian to torture him. The torture, believe it or not was the isolation itself. Just like solitary confinement is considered the harshest form of treatment for anyone who is incarcerated in prison, being isolated from other Christians was considered by Domitian as the cruelest from of torture for the last remaining living apostle, John. Domitian thought all followers of Christ had a death wish for the simple fact that the Bible says, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” and the last thing the emperor wanted to do was to fulfill a wish for any Christ follower so he did what he thought would drive the apostle John insane. He would isolate him away from everyone he loved and cut him off completely from His life’s mission, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. What Domitian didn’t understand and what the coronavirus can’t do is, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).  
 
For the last couple of weeks I have been sharing with you what the Lord has been reminding me of regarding the sage advice of Pastor Chuck Smith who would often say, “Never trade what you do know for what you don’t know”. Those words have never proven to be more true than in these last few days as fear and worry is spreading faster than the coronavirus itself do to all the misinformation we are receiving regarding COVID-19.

If you are feeling more afraid today, a little more anxious than yesterday know you make up the majority not the minority. So, in continuing today with the thought to never trade what we do know for what we don’t know, I am reminded that unlike the unbeliever, (the person who isn’t looking too and trusting Jesus with their life) who can only look back to the past when trying to predict the future, believers (those who have turned to God and who are walking with Jesus) have the blessing that comes with the ability to look ahead too. We have God’s Word that lays out for us clearly how life began and how life as we know it on earth will end. It’s called prophecy in the Bible, (prophecy is history told in advance) and the plan of God that is unfolding day by day right on schedule just as He said it would.

It’s no accident that the last book of the Bible is a prophetic book, a book that lays out the future of the world. If you have read the book of Revelation,  you know how the story ends already. God is triumphant over evil and there is no more sickness and disease. Did you hear that, loved one, no more sickness and disease as well as no more sorrow and no more death. Talk about a happy never ending story! Everything we fear today is going to come to an end and its not going to be because of the coronavirus. Remember, God is bigger than the coronavirus. The coronavirus will not have the last word, God will.

Speaking of news sources, for the most part, the majority of owners of the news media agencies that we as a general public rely upon for our information don’t know Jesus Christ nor do they trust His Word. Put in simple terms that means the information you and I receive daily is bleak at best for the simple fact is that those reporting the news don’t have the promises of God to rest in nor do they have the hope of heaven as a lens in which to view this current pandemic sweeping around the globe.

Let me just say for the record, the Coronavirus is not, and I repeat is not how our story ends. At least not for those who place their hope and trust in God.  

Hope, the hope the Bible speaks of is powerful because our hope is not going to be realized by a cure for a disease. Our hope is not determined by where we live or what we do for a living, and for sure it has nothing to do with how much toilet paper we have safely hoarded away. Our hope is in God Himself. And if the good news couldn’t get any better it does. Just like John discovered on the island of Patmos, my hope for you today is that even in this time of isolation where you might be feeling like you have been cut off from family members and friends and your normal routines of life, you haven’t been cut off from God. When John was alone, Jesus came to Him and just like Jesus was with John, even when we feel alone, Jesus is with us to give us hope, to remind us to keep looking forward, for the best is still yet to be!

 
“But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

I LOVE YOU!  
 




Michael Osthimer

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