I’ve heard that the most common phrase in the Old and New Testament is this: Don’t be afraid.
It makes sense to me, really. Sometimes repetition is the only way to get something into your head.
Remember who freed you from Egypt, says the Bible again and again. Remember the God who brought you out of slavery.
Sometimes I think that’s why God did that so spectacularly, supposedly hardened Pharaoh’s heart and made it extra impossible for the Israelites to ever get out of there: so we would all remember it forever.
And yet we forget. In fact, the people it was supposed to originally impress forgot almost immediately. You’d think that after being rescued from a lifetime of slavery by walking on dry land in the middle of the sea, people would realize God could do anything, would do anything for them.
But no: they gave in to fear. They missed the security of slavery, where at least they knew what the future held and where their next meal was coming from. The wilderness seemed so barren, empty, unpredictable. They forgot God’s power to help them through literally anything, power that was on full display before them not long ago. They let insecurity take over.
And I am the same way. Anxious about struggles and problems I see ahead, I forget the abundant grace that’s spilled out over my own life. I forget that God gave me the power to speak to my mother again after I’d ignored her calls out of fear and anger for over a year. I forget how lonely I once was, and now I have more love and friendship than I know what to do with sometimes. I forget that I used to be afraid to answer the phone, and now I do it for a living.
I forget that I used to be unable to believe, and now I do, and it’s changed the way I see the world forever.
I need to remember the grace of getting out from my own personal Egypts, even though there are other things I haven’t yet escaped. When I feel empty, I need to remember that – thank goodness! – there’s a Love out there big enough to fill me, and all the gaps my not-enoughness leaves.