Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. —Isaiah 41:10
Fear not. What better goal could there be than fearlessness at the start of a new year full of unknowns? This, however, is no aspiration on a list of resolutions. It’s a command. The “for” that follows “fear not” is what gives this verse its power: “for I am with you…I am your God…I will strengthen you…I will help you…I will uphold you…” The great I Am promises unparalleled help. God says, “I am with you.”
It’s worth asking who the “you” is at the start of this verse: “fear not, for I am with you.” The maker of the universe pledges His presence and aid—to whom? It can’t be the faithless and disobedient. To them, who remain under His wrath (John 3:36), God’s presence is terrifying (Luke 23:28-31).
And yet, the presence that will destroy the godless is precisely what we who love God, most treasure from God: His presence. To them that serve the Lord, who put their trust in Him—for this you—He does great and awesome things, unfathomable things. This is why it’s possible, and necessary, to “fear not.”
As we embark on another new year, Isaiah 41:10 supplies comfort and courage. Has God chosen you? Fear not! Has Christ saved you? Be not dismayed! Look away from the internet, the newspaper, the devastating headlines and “Behold your God!” (Isaiah 40:9). He is with you.
I hear echoes of this promise in Jesus’ last words to his disciples before He ascended to heaven. He commanded His followers saying, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” It sounds like an impossible task—all the nations, comprehensive discipleship, total obedience—until you read His next words: “And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
When God is our God through Jesus Christ, we are overwhelmed with blessings: repentance, forgiveness, mercy, peace with God, and His presence. Then, in all our waking, sleeping, and living, as we strive to obey Him, He promises to strengthen us, help us, uphold us. The obedience He requires of us would be impossible were it not for His presence, His power, and His help. But these are the very things He has promised to give us, always. Therefore, we need not fear—and can—not fear. His presence makes it possible.
What anxieties are weighing on your heart at the start of another new year?
Consider the privilege of serving the God who commands His children to “fear not.”
Ask Him to write His promised presence, help, strength, and upholding on your heart, and bring them to mind when you are tempted to fear.
Candice Watters is the editor of the Fighter Verses blog. She started memorizing Fighter Verses in 2017 with Set 2, and has been greatly helped by all the passages the Spirit brings to mind day-to-day.