Fear Not!

The recent Moody’s report regarding the financial state of the Bahamas; the high unemployment rate, the seemingly uncontrollable crime rate and related concerns make the above caption, “Fear Not,” seem impossible. How can one not fear in the midst of all the negative news? It is possible “in Christ,” which is more than a trite expression – it is a reality. One need not panic and succumb to anxiety; and the only way I know how to manifest such a positive outlook is through an abiding trust in Him who declared, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Therefore, I commend these few points to you:

Basis for “Fear Not”

The expression “Fear Not” did not originate with me. If it did, you would have reason to doubt and ignore it. However, that it is recorded in the Bible (Luke 2:10), and that the message of “Fear not” was borne by an angel of the Lord carry much authority and divine backing. Accordingly, it ought to give us some sense of assurance, certainty and hope. It calls for our attention.

What Does “Fear Not” Mean?

This question is best explained by reading more of the passage as recorded in Luke 2. There the Angel of the Lord exclaimed, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” So the message is for all people, or put another way, it is universal. Usually we do not find a one-gift that fits all, but this remedy is one that addresses the needs of all mankind. Verse eleven identifies the gift by explaining “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christa the Lord.” To know this Christ is to love Him, and to love Him is to prove Him; and to prove Him is to remain loyal to Him and His Word. However, lest I overlook what is the message of Christ, I go back to verse 10, which is “joy.” Joy is not a now and then feeling but a lasting reality in Christ that enables one to do the unthinkable, compared to human standards, and to survive tough times, or put another way, come through trying situations, while others are collapsing and unable to sleep.

And Now the Bonus

Some of us get bonuses only at Christmas or periodically. However, this “good news of great joy” extends beyond the current season into January, February -going back to December. It is year-round as noted in the above paragraph. This is why I personally do not see the need to play numbers or purchase lottery tickets. With a sincere embracing of the “Fear not” message, one is led to explore alternatives that tend to dignity and value. It is of interest to observe the preamble to the constitution of the Bahamas: “AND WHEREAS the People of this Family of Islands recognizing that the preservation of their Freedom will be guaranteed by a national commitment to Self-discipline, Industry, Loyalty, Unity and an abiding respect for Christian values and the Rule of Law.” It is my thinking that self-discipline, industry and hard work are better ingredients for the building of a nation. At the same time, as a follower of Christ, I am led to respect the freedom of choice He gives to all, notwithstanding that each choice carries a consequence. Nevertheless, my role is to encourage people to see what they possess now or could realize in Christ. He is our only surety. Again His message is more than a “fear not;” it is “good news of great joy.” And that is lasting even in the midst of sickness, apparent setbacks and trying circumstances, for it is in seeing Christ through the “crack.”

Happy Christ-filled Holidays and a Blessed New Year!

Pastor Leonard A. Johnson, president of the Atlantic Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventists (comprising the Bahamas, Cayman and Turks and Caicos Islands)