TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Here’s a fun fact about me: when I was in community college after high school, I was enrolled in the criminal justice program for a couple of semesters. I chose that field because I’ve always loved reading true crime stories or watching true crime documentaries. I can get sucked into Forensic Files and Dateline for hours. And if the Betty Broderick story is on, forget it. Nothing else is getting done until it’s over.
But true crime books/shows freak me out after a while. My mom still loves to tell about the time she found her copy of “Fatal Vision” in the freezer. (I was reading at home alone as a teenager and got scared.)
So I walked away from the possibility of a career in law enforcement because I’m a big chicken.
I don’t read or watch true crime very often anymore. It’s just not the kind of content I want in my head. But years of these books and shows have taken a toll on my imagination. And since I am a chicken, I get anxious.
Last night for instance… I had a committee meeting at church and it ran late. I needed to stop by the ATM on the way home so I left the meeting early. It was a dark and rainy night… I stepped out of the warm security of the church alone and opened my umbrella. As I walked to my car under the glow of the parking lot lights, heavy fog hung in the air… I quickened my pace. The parking lot was mostly empty, but that’s odd… I had never seen that old truck before. I wondered, “Who is that man in it and why is he waiting there?” I pulled the umbrella in the car, but my eyes stayed fixed on the man’s shadow. I hurried to close and lock the doors. I drove away, and as I did, I strained to see if there was a familiar face… Alas, the man’s identity was a mystery to ponder as I drove to the bank. As I pulled into the bank, my eyes tried to take in details from the dark corners of the parking lot. Though the ATM drive-through was well lit, it was isolated. There was no one around… No one to see and no one to hear… Alone in the night with the melody of dripping rain…
Yeah, welcome to my imagination. All those details about the night, rain, fog, truck, man, and ATM are true. But my imagination takes that stuff and runs amok. I welcomed the sense of relief that washed over me after I got my money and drove away. The ride home was uneventful.
Though I have loved this genre of book and documentaries, I don’t like to be scared. The anxiety I get from it is terrible. And now, I’ll finally get to the point of today’s devotion…
We have an enemy who wants us to be scared. Because when we’re afraid, we’re distracted from our Savior and Redeemer. We lose focus on the security of our Heavenly Father. Our prayers aren’t about praying, but they become about panic.
There’s a saying that claims the Bible tells us 365 times not to be afraid—one for every day of the year. I’m not 100% on that because I haven’t been able to verify it through a trusted resource yet and I don’t think HuffPost is super reliable. But “fear not” and “do not be afraid” certainly come up a lot in Scripture. And 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Between that, and the number of times we’re told to trust God, it’s clear He doesn’t want us to be fearful. And even when bad stuff happens, He wants us to stay focused on Him and His promise that He’s trustworthy.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27 ESV). Even though these words are 2000 years old, they are still meant for you and me. Even on cold, rainy nights when shadows seem to be lurking, we have Jesus. And because He is the light of the world, there is no room for fear, even in the darkest places.
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus for the security of His name. Thank Him that when fear threatens us, we can trust that He is in control and we are not alone. Ask the Holy Spirit to encourage your heart when you’re afraid and to equip you to pray with trust of God’s goodness.
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