As I lay wide awake in the utter darkness of the night, fear crept over me. Every little noise of the night was magnified in my ears. The layer that stood between me and the paranoia of my mind was no thicker than the tent wall between me and the actual darkness of the wilderness. Fear covered me. It terrorized and prevented me from any rest at all. And I was merely camping outdoors with my son.
It’s one thing to speak of the fear of the dark, it’s another thing to speak of the fear that can enter our hearts because of our sin. Fear brings an oppressive shackling and weight to our hearts that keep us from any rest. The reality and trouble of our sin cause our fear to flourish and sink us into great despair. We can cry out with the apostle Paul, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24).
The need for grace and liberation runs throughout the Bible. It is a gift of grace that God is the One who saves and rescues sinners from their sins. The people of Israel were trained to celebrate God as the One who is “performing saving acts on the earth,” crushing our great enemy, the devil (Psalm 74:12,14). They learned to wait on the God who would “wipe away the tears from every face and remove his people’s disgrace” (Isaiah 25:8). Israel faced forward in faith, waiting for the promised Messiah to liberate them from their sin and darkness.
It is with the coming of that Messiah, Jesus, that our sins and the oppressive fear that our sin holds over us are conquered. Jesus was sent to glorify the Father by becoming “like his brothers and sisters in every way” as a human being (Hebrews 2:17). He came and laid down His life as our substitute, paying for our sins in His death on the cross (Romans 4:25).
This reality is the good news that we all need today. Whenever we are waylaid in fear because of our sin, we only need to look to the Son of God and what He accomplished to liberate us. Paul declared, “he erased the certificate of debt…and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities…he triumphed over them in him” (Colossians 2:14–15). It is “through his death he might destroy the one holding the power of death” (Hebrews 2:14).
If our faith is in Christ, then the fear that occupies our hearts, minds, and souls is beaten down by Jesus Christ. We’re invited into the peace and rest that Jesus alone gives. We can announce to our fears, “you are nothing because Jesus loved me and gave himself for me.” The good news of God’s grace in Christ is that Jesus is our freedom and rest.