i have been told that the statement "do not be afraid" is found 365 times in the bible, one quote for every day of the year (and maybe in a leap year the day we would not need a quote for would be Xmas day because "its Christmas time and there's no need to be afraid, at Christmas time we let in light and we banish shade, and in this world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy, put your arms around the world at Christmas time..." well, he does hold the entire world in his hands so that's asking the right person if you sing that song as a prayer, innit. i can't say "as a prayer instead of as a love song" because it is a love song too. "a love song, Jim, but not as we know it"?). i have not checked all 365 (even though that could be a useful and interesting exercise), because one only has to read a few of the occurrences to overcome one's fear at the time. God's perfect love that casts out fear is still perfect, whether you are approaching via the 1st, 37th, 152nd or 364th example of it). My first thought was remembering being baptized, the 3 of us "getting the sheep dip" that morning were required to give a short testimony in church, i was terrified of making a hash of mine in public. our assistant minister's wife sent her little son toddling across the aisle to hand deliver a card with this verse, if he was afraid of me (a relative stranger) or of taking it to the wrong person, he did not show it. he will be adult now. if he is reading this, thank you. but the strongest thought that is associated with it for me today is the picture of the big hand holding the little hand in the posters that publicised the film Schindler's List in UK when it was released the 1990s. God bless Steven Spielberg and all other staff involved in making/distributing that film (i read it was an ordeal for Mr S as he lost a number of relatives in the camps so it is his personal tribute with love, as well as a history lesson that needs to be told). God bless the surviving Schindlerjuden whose ordeal was to live through the story, and God bless anyone else who has repented of sin and been saved by the Messiah as a result of their involvement. There is so much love in that film. Wonderful ending when we suddenly see the survivors in colour and they have made it to Israel and are re-united almost 50 years later laying stones on Oskars grave under the sun. I am impressed that there are 365 occurrences of "fear not" across the whole bible, some being in the NT. Jesus said that as a greeting on occasions. Helen Shapiro (who has chosen a change in career, to mainly speaking at gospel meetings) has said (words to the effect of) "when i became a follower of the Messiah it was more like becoming completed than becoming converted", she was very aware of Jesus being the fulfillment of God's promises to Israel. And this "do not be afraid, i am with you" promise is one of them - for jews first but also later for those gentiles who are following the Messiah (like the manna in the desert was sufficient, there is enough love to go round, he who we share by the grace of God is greater than things that may separate us). Another life-affirming film based on a book telling a true story is "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom. And i dont know but would not be surprised if the Schindler's List posters "big hand and little hand" picture inspired the method of filming the scene in The Passion Of The Christ where Jesus helps the adulteress (who might otherwise have been stoned) get to her feet. Big hand, little hand. Like the reason my dad would tell me not to bully my little brother - not "or else, i will thrash you soundly if you do" but "because he is my little friend". Do not be afraid. Your sins are forgiven. Your name is in The Lamb's book of life.
Created 9 months ago