To the one who has trusted in Christ: Don’t be afraid.
There are a hundred thousand things that can kill us in this life, and a billion more that can bankrupt us or break our bones. But there is only One who can save or damn our souls.
The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, but each fear of this place is one more brick on your chest.
I can be scared of who I am, and that others might see it and reject it. I can be nervous about the wide cultural or political landscape stretched out before my feet, and that it feels strange or uncertain. I can be anxious about where the next rent check, mortgage payment, car payment, or collections payment is going to come from.
I could be. And you could be. It’s part of our normal Americana to be anxious, like hot dogs and televised singing competitions and Ultimate Fighting. It’s our national cocktail: Dry apprehension with a subtle twist of annoyed stress.
But do you know why sparrows aren’t anxious?
Because they don’t have idols.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
Birds get hungry. But to be anxious you have to worship something and be afraid it’ll be taken away. To have the sinful sort of fear we do, the kind that clutches your chest and saps you of joy and hope, you have to be seeking identity and meaning in something created and transient; you have to be worshiping the created rather than the Creator. And birds can get hungry and eat, but birds don’t do that.
The trick isn’t to just to gut it out, and it isn’t to simply become stoic and not care, like some sort of Tibetan monk. That’s not how you beat back the anxiety. The way to fight fear for good is by loving most, by finding your identity and your greatest gladness in, what can’t ever be taken from you: The God of Jesus Christ. By trusting and adoring the God who spent His own blood on the Cross that you might be ransomed and rescued.
Fears, flaws, failures, and all, you and I are offered the Gospel in Jesus of Nazareth.
So take heart. Sparrows may not have idols, but they’re not as valued as you are, either.