“Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Can you remember a time when you were truly afraid? Fear has a way of unnerving us—making us feel like if we move, we might lose our footing.

On many occasions, the people of Israel let fear determine their movements. Fear of attack from enemies, being dominated by more powerful nations, and wondering if their God had forsaken them. They couldn’t understand what God was doing based on the circumstances around them, and so they were understandably scared and anxious. But Isaiah reminded them of what was true, even in the midst of their fear: God was still with them. After all, God chose Israel as His very own people, so He wouldn’t cast them out (Isa. 41:9). Even though they couldn’t see or fully understand how and where God was at work, they could trust that He was near. Therefore, they could have the strength and help they needed to withstand their circumstances.

The nearness of God makes the unbearable circumstances of life bearable. We all experience times when we find ourselves in circumstances where fear is guiding us, and we have trouble seeing the way forward. We can’t see a way through without falling or failing. The reality in those moments is there may not be a way through on our own. We will need nothing short of the Holy Spirit within us. We will need the care of our Shepherd who can see past the valley of the shadow of death. We need a Shepherd who goes before us and knows the way, even when fear cripples us (John 10:4).

● What in your life right now is causing the most fear? Where do you feel weak and worn out? Where do you feel unstable?

● Where do you need God to go before you and make a way? How can you trust in Him for strength this week?

● Take some time to be honest about what fears you have. Ask the Lord to search you and make them known, if you are unsure. Ask Him to be near and to hold you steady in the midst of your fear.