Our Lenten Devotion for Friday, March 18, comes to us from Steadfast Love which features reflections and prayers by Ed Arle and Gil Duchow with inspiration from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32 NIV
“Christ warns us against our destructiveness, while at the same time expressing that God’s love is stronger, much stronger that our own inclination to destroy what has been so beautifully made”
(from Behold the Beauty of the Lord by Henri J.M. Nouwen, page 48Henri)
When I was a child, I was often afraid of the dark. My parents then would hear me call out, more like scream, and they would come running. When they asked me what was wrong, I said, “I’m scared. The dark is too big.” So they would put a night-light on for me to soften my fears of the night. I don’t need that night-light anymore. I have Jesus.
They say that fear and dread come in three forms: some fears are imagined; some are warning signals to be cautious; and some are caused by things very real. Whatever it is that causes concern, this truth never changes: “If God is for us who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?” Enough said.
I remember being afraid at different times in my life. I have been afraid of being alone, being hurt or harmed, of not doing well, of failure, even of dying. I confess that sometimes it takes me awhile to turn toward trust in God who is able to protect each of us no matter what is threatening us. But this devotion reminds us that God is always present, even when we aren’t able to acknowledge God’s presence. Can you think of times when you have been afraid? What scared you? Were you able to find trust in God?
Jesus, help me to remember your “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18) Amen.