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The one Bible Verse for us in this season is “Fear not for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10). Whatever the circumstances, whatever you are going through, fear not for the Lord is with you. He is always present with us because He is an ever-present God. When we pray, we do not need to pray for the presence of God, we should rather pray that we will feel His presence. There is never a doubt that God is always present with us. His presence with us also has implications for our thinking and for our attitudes. One of those implications is that all fears should go away.
Fear is universal. Every one of us deals with one fear or the other. I remember very early in my life, I was living with my sister, who essentially is my mom because she raised me, in a very rural place that is very traditional. They still worshipped, then, all the gods of their ancestors. There was the masquerade, there was what is called the “Oro” and so many other river gods/goddesses. I had little fear for the masquerade, even as a child, because the son of the “Alaagba” (the head of the masquerades) was my best friend at school. So, I could say I knew some secrets. However, I knew absolutely nothing about the “Oro” which makes this terrifying noise at night. All you needed to do in those days to silence me was to say you will send the “Oro” to me at night. Whenever I heard the “Oro” at night I always jumped into mom’s bed. Mom had a way of holding me that will calm me down. In fact, the thought that she was in that room with me, and on the same bed, had magical effects on my nerves that usually calmed my fear. The presence of a protector always acts to calm our fears.
Our God is an ever-present God. In Jeremiah 23:23, the word of God says, “Am I only a God nearby,” …… “and not a God far away?” God is telling us He is always close by. In many parts of the Bible, the Lord had always acted to calm the fears of His people by letting them know He is with them anytime they are asked to engage in assignments that can bring fear. In Exodus 3, when God sent Moses on assignment to Pharaoh to bring the people of Israel out of Egypt (vs 10), Moses was afraid (vs 11), but God assured him by telling him “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain” (vs 12). The idea of God’s presence acted to calm Moses’ fears. When Joshua was installed the Leader of the Israelites after the death of Moses (Joshua 1), God knew it was a daunting task and that naturally, Joshua will be afraid. He then set out to calm Joshua’s fears by telling him “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Joshua’s fear was again calmed by the assurance of God’s presence. Our Lord Jesus Christ also assured the disciples that He will remain with them to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20), an act that emboldened them and helped them to keep moving despite all the oppositions they faced.
God is always present with us. Sometimes we let our fear overcome us to the point that we do not remember God’s promises of Isaiah 41;10, that He will be with us. During Paul’s trial no one came to his defense, but Apostle Paul acknowledged that the Lord was with him (2 Timothy 4:16-17). God’s presence acts to deliver us from the enemy. So, my brothers and sisters, let us fear not for the Lord is with us. He is always with us. In times of tribulations, fear not, for the Lord is with us. In times of overwhelming burden, fear not for the Lord is with us. In times when we think our prayers are not being answered, we must fear not for the one who knows tomorrow is present with us. We must always remember the word of God in Psalms 139:7-10, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Absolutely nothing can separate us from His presence or from His Love. – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya