“Be Not Afraid”

The Empty Tomb stained glass inside the chapel at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Church

     “But now, this is what the Lord says–he who created you, O Jacob (fill in your name), he who formed you, O Israel; “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior:” Isaiah 43:1-3 NIV

     “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19 NIV

     I’ve spent several months imprisoned by fear. It has infiltrated my thoughts, placed bars over my heart, wreaked havoc with my digestive system, and jolted my nerves into a state of high alert with its injections of adrenaline.
    Yet God has been merciful. In the fear, He has met me. He has offered me His love and comfort. He has reached out His hand of faithfulness and said, “Trust Me.” At times I’ve allowed His peace to release me. His rest to wash over me.
     Those moments would often occur in a local chapel where His presence freed me. There before the altar, eyes resting on the Blessed Sacrament, He would meet me in worship and praise. His conscious awareness of my distress and His desire to alleviate it (Webster’s definition of compassion) would soothe my fearful heart.
     After crying out to Him, I would open the hymnal to one of my favorite songs. One that would remind me of His comfort and assurance of His presence. Based on Isaiah 43:2-3, this song was written by Bob Dufford, SJ.  Being a sojourner in this Arizona desert, this song has comforted me on many barren days.

“You shall cross the barren desert,
but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety
Though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words in foreign lands
And all will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.
“Be not afraid, I go before you always,
Come, follow Me, and I will give you rest.
“If you pass through raging waters in the sea, 
You shall not drown.
If you walk amid the burning flames,
You shall not be burned.
If you stand before the power of hell
And death is at your side,
Know that I am with you through it all.
“Be not afraid, I go before you always,
Come, follow Me, and I will give you rest.”
     May His peace set us free as we battle the fears hurled at us by the enemy of our souls. In these next 40 days of Lent may we find ourselves filled with His peace.

     Thank you all for your prayers, notes, emails, and friendship that have been a tremendous support to me. I praise God every time I think of you.

From My Heart to Yours,

Linking with Word Filled Wednesdays at the Internet Cafe



8 thoughts on ““Be Not Afraid”

  1. Janis, it’s so good to see your writing (which always shows your heart) back in Blog Land. I so understand that tortuous prison of fear. I am so happy that God was with you through it all, and that the rays of sunshine are beginning to poke through the storm clouds again.

    Fear not.

    Sometimes I think those are the best words in the whole Bible.

    GOD BLESS, and love you!

  2. Oh, Janis, I’m so sorry. I have been remiss in my visiting but you have been in my thoughts and prayers. I will continue to pray for peace. Love to you.

  3. Keeping you in prayer. I love that photo of the stained glass window. I was in an amazing cathedral a couple days ago… So stunning and what stories those windows tell. Wonderful post.

  4. Janis, I am praying for you. Our God is so faithful and He is with you every step of the way. I love the Isaiah verse you wrote and the song. I have Isaiah 41:10 laminated and situated in a place where I can see it as I’m typing this to you.
    “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

    May His Word bless you and encourage you.

    Blessings and love,

  5. I am thrilled that you are back and it is so wonderful to read what God has been doing in your life. Those times that we walk through the barren wilderness make the times of green pastures so much sweeter.
    Continuing to hold you in my prayers, sweet friend.

  6. Hi Janis,

    How wonderful to read your post this morning; you have been in my thoughts friend. I know how easy it is to give in to fear, and I always imagine how awesome it would be to completely give my burdens to Him rather than relying on my own strength…praying that your worries and fears continue to turn into heartfelt prayers and trust so that you can experience peace knowing that HE is truly in control!

    Blessings and hugs,

  7. Janis, It is good to see you on here and your message is timely in many ways for me. Thank you and thank you for your visit and comment and I do appreciate your prayers.

    God Bless – Nita

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