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Seeds of the Kingdom

Lonely and Afraid

by Ron Scurfield

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7, NIV

Do we feel lonely and afraid? We should be neither.

As Christians we know Jesus is with us always. What better companion can we have? But the truth is we can feel quite lonely and isolated at times, perhaps the odd one out in a crowd. We may have lost a loved one or our family has left home. We can be struggling in a cloud of despair. Loneliness plays with our emotions, and we become sensitive and vulnerable. This can be painful and soul-destroying.

God has said, "'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). But often our emptiness lingers, and we’re open to all kinds of thoughts and doubts. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27). So where is His peace? It’s struggling to get into our hearts, and if we’re full of anxiety there’s no room. We need to cast all our anxiety on to Him, make space for His peace, receive it, absorb it, and rest in it. ‘Know this love of Christ that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God’ (Ephesians 3:19).

Fear can be the biggest burden. Fear strips us of our protection, our spiritual armour. It tarnishes our strength and our shield, and leaves us exposed to the unexpected. We have no control over our circumstances, and the worst may happen. We seem to have no defence over fear, and we are exposed to all the enemy throws at us.

We know the promises of God. We know we shouldn’t feel this way. But fear has no friends. Fear takes over where faith has fallen away. Standing on the promises of God feels so insecure, and we become exposed to all the fiery darts of the evil one. This is not the way it should be. Where have we gone wrong? Our weaknesses seem only to make things worse.

Paul and Silas were stripped and beaten. They were severely flogged and thrown into prison. Their feet were fastened in stocks. Yet they were praying and singing hymns to God. ’Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, their chains fell off and they were free’ (Acts 16:25-26).

Even in the most desperate situation, praising God was more important to them than their lives. They had seen Jesus, and the power of God bringing life out of death. The barrier between man and God had been destroyed by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What was there to fear? In the midst of their worship God set them free. When Jesus is greater than death, nothing else matters.

A moment’s hardship cannot be compared with the joy set before us.  Let’s live in the reality of Jesus, who breaks the chains of bondage to fear, and sets the prisoner free.

Ron Scurfield with his wife Jill, are part of the Associate Ministry Team at Ellel Grange and occasionally Ellel Scotland. Ron enjoys walking and writing and meeting interesting people, but his greatest joy is seeing God transform lives, setting people free to live the abundant life that Jesus intended.

 

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