More than any other command, “Do not be afraid” threads its way through the Scriptures. Perhaps our acted-upon fear is a barometer of how we really view God. Is He trustworthy? Is He safe? Will He intervene? Can He keep our hearts? Or need we panic in the absence of His real help?
This image expresses an unseen reality. The child walks, oblivious and at peace. We get the impression that she has absolutely no idea that a host of harmful beings are on her trail. But she has no need of knowing because a very real Presence stands between her and her attackers. So it is with us. The Scriptures refer to the Lord as a Strong Fortress, A Rock of Salvation, A Hiding Place, a tower of Refuge. We are told that we rest in His shadow…close enough to Him to be cast in His own shade. How beautiful.
It may feel at times that we are unprotected, standing out in the bristling winds, left to our own defenses. But this is not the case. If we could peer behind the veil into the unseen, we would see that God is very active on our behalf…and very solid. The Fortress is real. The Defender (whom the Scriptures also refer to as a “Dread Champion”) is standing before us. His watchful eyes are never lidded, and He “never slumbers nor sleeps”, laying down on the job of protecting His children.