There is much to fear from the world these days. Watch the news, and sink into deep anxiety fed by global violence, political chaos and saber rattling. In psychological order, first comes fear, then flight or fight, and maybe — freeze.
I wasn’t able to articulate my own fears until Pastor James Calderazzo preached a sermon called “Fear Not, little Flock.” In honesty, much of what I’m sharing I credit to him.
Like confused and scared sheep with no wise shepherd, we could have every reason to fear for our future.
Continuing the ovine imagery, if we are to identify with a frightened lamb or a wayward sheep, it is relevant to note that as cute as they are, like the Easter Bunny, this is a skittish, stinky, stubborn creature whose wool collects briars, nettles, bits of sticks, dirt, and anything else they brush up against. We humans are also scared, stubborn, rebellious, and careening down wrong paths while collecting various sins that stick to us.
But cheer up, dear ones.
The Easter season is here to remind us, again, of God’s blessed assurance that we have no reason to fear when we are his sheep. Even if — like sheep — we keep going astray, he will calm and guide us through any ordeal.
The 18th century poet William Blake offered consolation for shell-shocked lambs when he asked, “Little lamb, Who made thee? Dost thou know Who made thee? Little lamb, I’ll tell thee. He is called by thy name for He calls Himself a Lamb.”
The good shepherd, Jesus, is also the innocent lamb of sacrifice, and he knows our suffering and fear intimately through the agony of the cross. He can truly say, as no other, “I know how you feel.”
Jesus speaks to us in our troubles with soothing words: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
The sheep who hear his voice and whom he calls by name have reasons not to fear no matter how scary this earthly place becomes. We have a shepherd to lead and protect us. We have a father to love us. We have a king who is all powerful over worldly horrors. We have kingdom citizenship. Knowing our home is in heaven and for all eternity, why fret over losing what we have on this transient earth? We have been given a great gift made possible by the lamb of God who paid our debt of sin. As he says in Isaiah, “Fear not for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by name, and thou art mine.”
Take him at his word and fear not, little flock.
Mary Ready of Destin is a twice-retired English teacher and long-time area resident. She writes occasionally for the Faith page.