Are you afraid?
Are you ever afraid of other kids, or afraid because of something you have to do? Or maybe afraid for someone else who is in a tight spot? God helps us deal with fear. The Bible shows us how.
Jacob in the Bible was afraid. He had tricked his father and cheated his brother. His brother threatened him, and he ran away.
One night while Jacob was alone and on the run, he had a dream. He saw a ladder that reached from the earth all the way up to heaven. Angels of God were going up and down that ladder. God was there, and He said to Jacob, "Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go" (Gen. 28:15, Harper Collins Study Bible).
Keep means to protect. Right there in the middle of Jacob's fear, God was talking to him and showing him that he didn't need to be afraid. God wasn't saying that what Jacob did was OK, but God was showing him that no matter what, He would take care of him. Jacob needed to change and be a better man. And he did. Later Jacob and his brother came together in peace.
Sometimes, like Jacob, we may think we're alone and that something bad is very big. We might not be sure that God is with us.
The Bible is a book that helps us know about God. It tells us that God is all-powerful. He loves us dearly and takes care of us. Stories in the Bible, like the one about Jacob, help us. Jacob's dream-picture helped him not to be afraid, and that same picture can help us know about God's love and not be afraid.
God is Spirit, and so we can't see Him with our eyes. Because of this, we might think it would be hard to know Him and to know He is with us. But all through the Bible, there are word pictures that help us feel His presence. These word-pictures use things we already know to show us what God is like. These pictures help us know how God is always taking care of us.
Here are a few examples of word pictures. The Bible describes God as a Shepherd and says that we're His sheep. The God-Shepherd finds the sheep if they're lost, and feeds them. He takes care of them if they're injured and protects them from prey, so they're safe even in the wild woods.
The Bible tells that God is like a huge, powerful eagle, and we're always safe under His big wings.
In many places the Bible describes God as being our Father who takes care of us. In one place God says, "I the Lord your God will hold your right hand," just the way a father might (Isa. 41:13).
And there are angels. God commands His angels to guard us and to keep us from getting hurt. They minister to us (take care of us) and fight battles for us. Many times the angels are there with messages for us from God.
A word picture helped me when I was afraid. Here's what happened.
Someone I love was very sick, and I was scared. I tried and tried to pray about this, but I just kept feeling scared. Then I started to think about what God was doing to help. A picture came to me of lots and lots of angels circling around and guarding. They were nursing and comforting and even singing lullabies. The picture reminded me that God was tenderly taking care of everything. I wasn't afraid anymore. By morning my friend felt fine.
Word pictures can help remind us about what God is and what He is doing for us. God is Spirit. So He is much more powerful than any eagle. God is infinite Spirit, so He is everyone's Father all at once, and He can shepherd everyone in every place. God is totally intelligent Spirit, so He cares for us without ever making a mistake. He talks directly to us in our hearts. He is saying to us, just as He said to Jacob, "Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go."
We don't need to be afraid. We know that we can trust God to take care of us.
His arm encircles me,
and mine, and all.
Mary Baker Eddy
(founder of the Monitor)