Faith over Fear
[Originally published in the Monroe News on April 9, 2021]
As you well know, this past Sunday was Easter. For many Christians this year’s edition of this beloved holiday was even more joyful than usual. Last year almost everyone was stuck at home due to the beginning of the pandemic and most all Easter services were being pre-recorded with empty churches to be broadcast over the internet. To gather again in person this year, albeit with many precautions still in place, brought tears to many eyes and rightfully so.
One word I brought up and focused upon in my Easter message this year was the word fear. Not exactly the first word that comes to mind when you think about the resurrection of the Savior of the world. Yet fear was absolutely a part of the Easter story. The women who first came to the tomb of Jesus to anoint his body are described in the Gospels as being alarmed and fearful at what they encountered. They expected the worst. They feared the many unknowns before them. They were alarmed at encountering many things, including an angel and an empty tomb, that were very much unexpected.
Their reaction in fear sheds much light on the place of fear in our lives. We too have been conditioned to expect the worst. We too fear the unknowns before us. We also fear a great many things that will simply not come to pass. Can you remember the fears you faced the last time you took a hike in the woods? What if I get lost? What if it rains? What if I see a bear? Fear fills us up with “what ifs”. If we spend our life running or hide from all the “what ifs” our mind can conjure we’ll never get very far.
The problem with fear in our lives is that it is regularly based on things that simply aren’t real. We fear the dark not because we know what’s out there but because we don’t. We fear the bump and noise in the night because we don’t know. The fears our hearts and minds dwell upon are almost always based upon ideas, thoughts, imagination based in “what could be” instead of “what is”.
While the resurrection morning of Jesus was a place that initially began in fear for the women who became the first witnesses, it is also the place that can prove to be the answer to all of our fears. If we wish to get away from all of the fears of “what could be” then the resurrection gives us a bedrock foundation of a faith based upon “what is”. What is true is that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He has claimed victory over death and sin. This is at the heart of the Christian Easter celebration.
Our daily lives can now start with a truth and a reality that we live in a world where we have a Savior who promises to raise all believers from the grave. Our greatest enemy in death will not have the last laugh. There is no great unknown question or fear when it comes to death and the grave. Not anymore. Jesus shows every man and woman on this earth that He holds all authority in this matter and every matter.
The certainty that Jesus’ resurrection offers us all goes beyond the gifts of the resurrection. He offers us certainty in His word. The Gospels record the numerous times Jesus prophesied what would happen to him in Jerusalem. He would suffer, he would die, he would be raised on the 3rd day. He put His word on the line. If Christ had not been raised then our faith would be in vain. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead and His word has been proven true time and again. The resurrection of Jesus proves His word is true, case closed.
So I put this before you: say no more to fear. No more to fear of the unknowns and the what ifs of this life. Instead, choose faith. Faith in a crucified and risen savior whose Word is truth and life for all people.
To God be the glory.
Mark Witte is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org