Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee though none pursue; but the just, like a lion, are confident.
One of my favorite stories from the Gospels is in Mark. Jairus, a synagogue official, whose 12 year old daughter is near death comes to Jesus in hopes that he will heal her. Christ agrees to help but before they can leave there comes the dreaded news. “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” I can feel Jairus’ heart break at the news, his trip was in vain, it would have been better to have stayed at his wife’s side. This child was precious to him, thus his last minute, desperate trip to see this crazy faith healer that most of the religious establishment were already ridiculing and worse. He had risked his position on the outside hope that this person could do something to save his child. And now his child was gone – why trouble the teacher any longer. Just as he is about to leave Jesus puts his hand on Jarius’ shoulder, smiles warmly at him and says almost joyfully – “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” And there was nothing to fear; the child who was dead lived and there was nothing to fear for Christ had entered their lives and their home and all was well – for it could be nothing else with Jesus there.
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.” There is so much contained in that simply statement of Jesus. I can think of nothing more dreadful than the news your child has died and in response to this Jesus simply says “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” What ever evil surrounds us we need not be afraid God wills all things to his end. Even if we suffer, even if we die, even if something precious to us is taken away God is with us and in the end, as long as we have faith, we have nothing to fear. We have every right to walk with confidence in the light of our loving God. We are lions and need fear nothing.
This thought was pressed into my heart in response to prayer for peace with a terrible level of agitation that seemed to be swelling around me. There just seemed to be so much fear. Fear that our children will be lead astray by the world, fear that forces working against the church would be successful, fear of strangers, fear of vaccinations, fear of food additives, fear of pollution, fear of gays, fear of the internet, fear of war, fear of seemingly every thing. I was tired of the fear and it did not feel right, good or even useful.
It felt like we were deer, hiding ourselves in the bushes, watching the wild dogs walk in the meadow. It occurred to me that my children would not want to be the deer, the prey, waiting for the enemy to attack. They would see the enemy with their strong teeth and sharp claws and feel at best weak – at worse they would despise being always afraid and would want to leave. Would they envy the freedom of walking in the sun while I tried to keep them safe in the shadows? And that sweet response from Jesus whispered in. “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” We are lions.
We have as children of the King of all Creation the blessed right to roar. We have in our souls the love and joy born of Grace and we walk in the sun. Our children can watch the wild dogs scatter as they know that nothing in the world can touch them for they are not truly of the world. There is nothing in the purveyors of sin and sorrow to admire – a child of God would debase themselves to join them. My older children have begun to wrap themselves in this idea as they walk out into the world. They do not need to worry about those things that would tell them their faith is worthless or a fantasy. Sin with all its temptations is beneath them and when they do stumble it is only a stumble for they belong to Christ – He will recover His own. They need only set aside their sin and return to their place in the sun for they will always be welcomed back. They are lions; they roar.
Yes, there is pain, sorrow, hardship, grief and loss. It is true that sometime there is more comfort in being the lamb than the lion and we are blessed in those moments to be both. But just as Christ is the Lamb of God He is also the Lion of Judah. We are called to be imitators of Christ, we walk in the light of God, we scatter the enemies of Christ to the shadows – we do not dwell in the shadows ourselves. Our natural space is in the sunlight of God’s love. We need not fear anything for our Lord and savior has conquered all that would trouble us. God’s strength makes us lions when the world would have us be frightened and when we are sure that our struggles have overcome us Jesus smiles at us and encourages us – “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”