29 Aug Work Through Your Fear
Good morning everyone. This morning, we are gonna essentially think through two questions in relation to the pandemic. First, “have you realized you lost your freedom?” Next, you ask “can you lose it indefinitely?”
Now, day in and out, we’ve been hearing news about the pandemic. It is really the concern of people now. Although no one likes this situation, but we’re following this news involuntarily. Why? Because it is feeding something in us, i.e. our fears.
No one likes to fear, but we can be absorbed by fear. It’s just like no one love drugs, but once we got hooked up by drugs, we kept going back to it. So if you don’t realize, we’re actually involuntarily giving in to fears everyday especially when we saw countries who open up their countries in the hope of reviving their economy, and some experience a little resurgence of infected cases, what does that do to the other nations? It simply drives fear into their heart. It makes countries apprehensive, and thus refuse to lift restrictions.
So after going through the pandemic for a good seven months, we should have realized something insidious. i.e. If I want to take away your freedom, I don’t have to put you in jail, nor do I have to impose quarantined on you. All I need to do is to give you information which will render you fearful. Sometimes, it may not be false information, it may be information that is half-truth, or news that are blown up, such that people will not think rationally. And they trade their freedom because of fear.
In fact, I am puzzled why so many churches in our country are not opening up, in fact when restrictions to gather are lifted, or even when our community cases are less than five everyday and sometimes zero. There are many reasons to give for not gathering, and the most probable reason that is restricting everything and everyone could be fear itself. So most people will just take a “better be safe than sorry” approach.
Now, if a group of people, or a nation of people always think like that, they will not thrive. Because things that make people fear are bound to come. And that is why when Jesus spoke about the end times prophecy, he said: You will hear of wars and rumors of wars”. Think about this. How frightening are wars! Countries will be devastated, families rip apart, and all that we have will be gone. Yet, Jesus said: “Do not be alarmed!” Because these wars, and these rumors which play up the conflicts will be used by the spiritual enemy to instill fear, which in fact will take away your freedom. It could be your freedom to gather, or your freedom to preach the word, or your freedom to love, or your freedom to think and act soundly and even to say the right thing to encourage one another.
So we have seen the trade war, the technological war and now the pandemic is doing that to us. So as believers of God, what do you make out of this? Now, think about this. If I will just feed you news or information that will make you fearful and unsettled, I can easily make you do my bidding. I can easily justify lock down and restrictions. I can stop you from doing this or that easily. And you will gladly surrender your freedom because of fear.
Now, let me say that I am not against restrictions that are justifiable and needful. But I am against restrictions that are overboard, and which come through the invoking of people’s fear. And when people become more irrational, more cynical, the world will not get out of lock down.
Now, I believe countries around the world are mindful of that. And we know people are getting tired of all these restrictions. Now I don’t about you but I believe that restriction cannot go on indefinitely, because one of the very intrinsic thing that human beings value is their freedom. Businessmen want freedom to trade. Grandparents want freedom to see their grandchildren. The commoners want freedom to travel. Believers want freedom to gather.
Actually, it is not so much of reviving the economy first, if it’s money we are always thinking about. In fact, we are created to be free. And by being free, the human heart sees hope. We cannot remain mask up, walking around skeptically, get restrained by law enforcers, or distance ourselves from another human being so deliberately. Now, we can see countries trying to find ways to work around their fears. By working around, they try to buy time, encourage people to work with inconvenience, giving people hope about the coming of vaccines. No. I would say “working around fear” is not the way forward.
The human heart knows it cannot be liberated by just working around the fear, it needs to “work through the fear”. It needs to find ways to love, to care, to meet, to connect, to pray through the fear. And that is what Jesus has done to help the disciples overcome their fear.
We can read about this account in <John 20:19-22>.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Now, this is a beautiful account about how Jesus led the disciples through the fear, instead of just toeing around it.
First, he showed them his hands and side. Yes, our Lord Jesus has went through the greatest trial for us. He was pierced for our sins and went through the greatest suffering for our iniquities. So you who are set free, do not let the fear of the pandemic entrap your heart.
Next, our Lord Jesus came to send forth the disciples. Now think about this? How does all our fearful thoughts and skeptical ways now represent one who is being sent out to love, to connect and to encourage? I will encourage you to meet up with fellow believers and encourage one another. Pray through all your struggles. If you have a church meeting, go. Don’t be restrained by any fear of infection, which is irrelevant when you are being guided by the Holy Spirit. He who sent you will protect you.
So my brethren, don’t merely work around your fear. By the help of God, work through your fears.