“Do not be afraid!” Matthew 28:5
Change makes us nervous! We know what to expect when everything functions as status quo. But, let someone interrupt our schedule or change our agenda, and life become hectic.
The detour sign on the highway immediately sets off our alarm. We become concerned about reaching our destination. We worry about new found trouble on the alternate route. We wonder if we will become lost and not know what to do next.
The new leader at work makes us question our future. We don’t know what he will change. We are concerned if he will agree with how we work. We are concerned about our welfare. We are afraid we may be required to do something differently.
With the threat of change, we realize that our comfort was in routines. Even people of faith find more comfort in routines than if God sets a new agenda. It might be said that the more routines insure our comfort, the more we really desire to control life instead of trust God.
Change reveals how quickly we fear the unknown. Because we cannot predict the future, we struggle to relax and give God the control of what we once assumed we owned. While we claim to be people of faith, our fears reveal the weaknesses of our faith. Fear and faith do not coexist.
But, when we can see God in the change is when we can finally find peace. The angels in an empty tomb say “Fear not!” because God is in the surprise. It is God who has conquered death! It is God who has brought life! It is God who has emptied the tomb and removed the expectation that death is uncontrollable and final.
Later it will be the risen Savior who will speak to fearful disciples. His words will be a new greeting, “Peace be with you.” He speaks with them, eats with them, and encourages them to touch him if needed, but he wanted them to believe that He was still leading them into the future. Many things might have changed, but one thing never changed. God is still on the throne.
This week, as every week, has confronted us with changes in expectations about the future. For some the changes were good. For others the changes were frightening. For all the changes are mile markers that reveal how much faith we place in God and how much faith we place in our circumstances.
Do not be afraid! He is alive! Go and tell the others. Everyone is seeking the same thing, peace.
Dr. John Temple is chaplain of the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office. From the Shepherd’s Heart is published Fridays in The Meridian Star.