Jackson Five Friday: Normalcy

Hey Friends,

I hope you’ve had an excellent week. I’m overjoyed by signs of normalcy. Two experiences in particular have made me smile with deep satisfaction these last few days.

Our church is now offering a fully masked service and a mask-optional service. Will and I attended the masked service so that we could teach Sunday school during the mask-optional hour. I’m the kind who rips the mask off the very second I can. I do not take two steps outside with it on.

However, my husband was unintentionally still wearing his mask fifteen full strides from the church door. We passed by a woman on the sidewalk who is in her eighties. We’ve met her, but do not know her well.

“Good morning,” Will said, cheerfully.

The woman’s eyes danced with amusement, and maybe even a hint of disdain. “Look at this guy,” she said, meeting my gaze. She was low key ripping him for wearing a mask. Her lack of fear made my day.

But Wednesday night was even better. We went to a small outdoor concert and nary a trace of fear was in the air. No one mentioned the vaccine or masks or acted nervous in any sense. It was all smiles and pure joy to soak up live music with strangers. Nothing about it felt different than a spring concert in 2019.

The last sixteen months have made me realize I’m pro many things, and anti many things. On some other issues, I just don’t have strong feelings one way or the other. But one aspect has become crystal clear: I’m vehemently anti-fear!

Maybe it’s because the Bible tells me to be. In fact, “fear not” is one of the central teachings of Scripture. A simple online search will yield a plethora of encouraging verses like this one:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

But the Bible has a pro side of fear too. It tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We sometimes trip up on this concept. Yet a lack of reverence and awe for the Person who spoke creation into existence would be idiocy. How could you hope to have wisdom if you couldn’t even get over that tiny hurdle? We fear Him because He is in control and all-powerful. But wisdom convinces us that He loves, that He wants to give us good things, including peace. And we know that perfect love casts out fear. When you take a few minutes to reason through it, you recognize that it’s all a process that begins with fear of the Lord.

How can you apply God’s Word to be strong and courageous in your own life? How can you help those around you to overcome fear?

As Sinclair Ferguson summarized it so beautifully: “There is a fear that can deliver us from all other fears.”

Praying today that you know that fear. Have a fabulous weekend!

With Love,

Kristie

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