Hey my loves, come here. Snuggle in close. Hush now… listen to mama. The world screams and I want you to hear my voice instead. I have secrets to tell you. Huddle in.
Look at my face. See my eyes? I love you all so much. You know this? I do. I’d give my life for you. I would. And you know who loves you more than even your daddy and me? Jesus. He’s so crazy about you. He is. Just because you are. It’s true.
You need to know this, because I know the world feels big and loud and unstable. Now, in particular, but often anyway. Because lots of people are scared, and fear is a dangerous ally. See, the opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is fear.
So when people do and say mean and damaging things, it’s almost always because deep inside, they’re feeling afraid. People scrambling for power at any cost are the most afraid. And it’s easy for us to become afraid of their fear. (In fact, some people make money trying to make you feel afraid. Did you know that?) So the fear goes around and around until we are exhausted and hurting and confused.
Fear feels legitimate. Sometimes, we become afraid for ourselves… Afraid someone will hurt our bodies or break our hearts. Afraid someone in authority will abuse that power and take our free will away. Afraid we will lose control. Afraid we will be left all alone and empty handed. Afraid we will die.
And sometimes we become afraid for people we love… That someone will hurt their bodies or break their hearts. Afraid someone with power will abuse them, abandon them, misuse them, belittle or subjugate them. (Those are big words for doing mean things.) We are afraid the people we love will die.
Sometimes, some or most of those things have happened to us or someone we love(d), and we become terrified that it will happen again.
Fear can paralyze us and it can make us mean. But I want to tell you something. You, dear ones, you have nothing to fear.
See, I’ve been there. I’ve been harmed and heart-broken. I’ve been abused, abandoned, misused, belittled and subjugated. I’ve been all but killed dead. And you know what? I survived. I’m ok. Our bodies and our hearts can mend. Love and care can do that. God can do that. You know who else has been there? Jesus. He’s been through all of it (even the dying!). But He rose, and God made it all ok. He’s making it all ok.
So I can tell you with all sincerity… you don’t need to be afraid. With Jesus, you can be confident that ultimately, ultimately, you will be ok, too. You need to know that you are safe to love.
Oh life’s not always easy, and sometimes it hurts a whole lot. It’s not always fair or beautiful or fun. But you guys know the secret… that perfect love casts out all fear. That we can grieve and rejoice and suffer and celebrate and not shut down our hearts in fear, but love. Love well and completely, even when it feels like the people whose fear looks like hate are going to win.
Because once you know how perfectly you are loved, and once you learn to live out of that love, then you can decide what you believe about important things and what you can do about the things that need doing. You can form convictions but communicate in love. You can fight for justice but fight in love. And you can share this secret with others so they can be free from fear as well.
And we are so completely free. Free to choose love and life on every level. And oh, we’ll fail and make mistakes, but we won’t give in to fear. We won’t perpetuate that lie. Pain? Yes. Uncertainty and stress? Sometimes. Fear? No way.
Rise above it my loves. Take in the much, much bigger picture and then take responsibility for what God has placed in your care.
Because ultimately, ultimately, it’s all going to be ok.
So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.