Kathy Bernard - Publisher

"It is the Lord Who goes before you. He will be with you;
He will not leave you nor forsake you. Do not fear or
be dismayed.” - Deuteronomy 31:8

The Bible is filled with the promises that God gave to us.   For instance, Isaiah 41:10  gives us an indisputable and absolute statement: "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. God's covenant assures that He will never leave us stranded or forgotten.  He will never break His word.  He will give us the grace to sustain during times of stress, fear, sickness, disappointments and all things that this earthly life throws at us, for it is a constant that is with us forever.  As Christians we may face abandonment or be struck down in misery, but not destroyed.  Hebrews 13:5  reads in part, ".. be content with what you have, for He has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  These are two unconditional statements that carries us through the darkness of life.

Can you accept this?

Father Robert J. Carr has this to say about God's promises: "Fear can approach us from many avenues".  Maybe we have an unexpected letter or phone call that gives us potential bad news. Now this is what fear highlights, what potentially could happen.  If fear takes over our lives, we become crippled by it, afraid of what may happen, when in fact, it may not happen at all. This is the first element of fear.  It may happen or it may not.  Yet, when we focus on what may happen to be, what will happen, we become crippled by that anticipation.  We are disabled by fear.  Yet, God has always told us not to fear at all. Why? Because the future belongs to Him!  He is in charge of our future and, therefore, when we are afraid, we do so by not trusting Him.  God has the potential of doing anything to change the path of any element of our lives. Yet, we have to understand this within the context of whom we are.  Why is it so bad to succumb to fear?   Simply look at what the Apostles did when they succumbed to fear, they abandoned Christ. When we succumb to fear we do the same thing.  We focus on the potential of what will happen and take our eyes off of Christ. This is why fear is so poisonous to our spiritual life and our relationship with Christ. Fear cuts off our relationship with Christ.

"What does the Psalmist do?  He says he will not fear because the Lord is his light and salvation.  What is the opposite of fear: trust. No matter what happens to us we need to put our trust in Christ because He does indeed care for us. I have dealt with people who become literally so crippled by fear that they enter a dark emotional hole and never come out of it.  Jesus tells us that perfect love casts out fear.  That goes both ways, we trust in His love for us and we do not fear no matter what may happen.  This allows our love to grow for Him which casts our fear….St. James tells us to consider it pure joy when we experience difficulties for through those difficulties our faith is growing. This is why we must never fear what may happen, because the more we trust in God, the more whatever happens will lead us closer to Christ. That is similar to what happens when we choose to trust while the rest of our body tells us to stay silent and mind our own business.  We go through that painful period where we choose to obey our fears or obey our Lord.  When we choose the latter, great things happen, when we choose the former, we lose everything and become enslaved to the whims of evil. Yet, when we choose to do God’s will despite our fears, great surprises happen.

“…When we focus on Christ, we dismiss our fears and act on His truth.  When we focus on our fears we abandon Christ and become a slave to fear and intimidation.  Perfect Love casts out all fear and leads us closer to Christ in total trust.”  Father Carr is presently the pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Quincy, Maine, USA.  

Many times we get so caught up in our hardships and despair that we cannot see beyond it.  It becomes a litany that takes over our lives and outshouts the peace God wants us to have.  Friends turn away, fearful of being too close to our realities of pain and suffering, and they become frightened for themselves. They too, are carrying their own crosses.  But, we as Christians must not forget we have the antidote for anything life tosses our way. We have Jesus Christ Who promises never to leave us and through Him we have access to our most powerful advocate; our Heavenly Father. Instead of being crushed by fear, spend time in prayer, calling on His Holy Name.  Prayer is when we must carry life's crosses and put them into His powerful hands, letting Him shine sunlight into those dark corners of life we fearfully face.

In each life there comes a time when nothing seems to come out right, and troubles pile up, leaving us lost and afraid, lonely and bereft. We forget even to pray for we feel we have been isolated; adrift on a sea of turmoil.  It is then we must find a quiet place to seek the healing presence of God, for in this communion with Him we will realize that God has been carrying us all along. 

Our God is a mighty fortress during our times of pain, sorrow, lack of money, and betrayal.  He is the anchor promised to us.  In times of great fear when enemies paralyze and numb our spirit read Deuteronomy 31:6,which says,Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them, for the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Remain consistent  in your faith.  Don't get discouraged when the burdens you carry become heavy.  Trust even when you cannot see the end of your trials.  Learn to be patient and certain through your suffering that He has not forgotten you.  In Psalms 46:10 He tells: "Be Still and know I am God."  Believe that God has you in the palm of His Hand.  He knew your name even before you were born and even knows the count of hairs on your head.  He will never leave or abandon you for His promises and His mercy endures forever.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do 
not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God
is with you wherever you go.”- Joshua 1:9

Friar Alessandro - Panis Angelicus

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