A few years ago, I was in a low place. My BFFs—Joan and Paula—noticed something was wrong as we sat down at one of our favorite restaurants. Over teriyaki chicken and hot and sour soup, they asked, “You aren’t yourself. What’s wrong?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” I said. What followed, though, was me sharing with them a mix of unnamed feelings and fears.
For an hour, they talked and cheered and comforted me. When that didn’t work, we went shopping. Because when all else fails … shop!
We ended up at one of our favorite boutiques. As we walked in, we paused at a table full of jewelry by the front door.
(If you’re new to the 4:13 Podcast, now’s a good time to tell you that I’m blind.)
I started to feel around on the table, and I picked up a necklace. I felt some fun-feeling beads, and I traced my fingers to the bottom of the necklace and felt a key. “What’s this?” I asked my friends.
“It’s one of those keys with words on them,” Paula responded. “It says ‘safe.'”
I pulled the key to my heart. After sharing my feelings and fears with my friends, it was as if the Lord whispered to me, “I am with you. It’s you and Me. I’ve got you. I’ve got this. In every situation, in every season, you are safe with Me.”
Sister, I didn’t know I felt unsafe until He spoke that word over me. I didn’t realize that I needed to hear that until He gave me that word to answer to all of my fear. And maybe today you’re feeling like I did that day. You may need to know that you are safe with Him.
In this episode of the 4:13 Podcast, KC and I share with you four fears Jesus knows you may have. You’re going to hear the words of Jesus in Luke 12 to see how He understands your fears and gives you His peace and presence when you need it most. Plus, you’ll hear a beautiful song by Michael O’Brien to help seal this message in your heart.
4 Fears and Why You Are Safe With Your Shepherd
- The fear of dying or being harmed. In Luke 12:4, Jesus said, “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.” He nailed two of our biggest fears: the fear of dying and the fear of being harmed. Most of us feel vulnerable when it comes to both. The uncertainty of death—whether our own or that of someone we love—can freak us out and make us feel insecure. And, all of us get hurt by others, whether it’s rejection or unkindness, and we find ourselves afraid of being harmed. Because we can’t control others, we’re vulnerable to their hurtful words and actions.
In this verse, Jesus acknowledged these fears, but He also said not to be afraid of those who can hurt us. Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” It’s like He’s saying, “Little flock, I know you feel vulnerable to others, I know death can bring out fear. Don’t fear. I’m your Shepherd. I conquered death. I’m in ultimate control.” Friend, people may hurt you, and the process of death may frighten you, but you’re safe with your Shepherd. He’s with you.
- The fear of being abandoned, inadequate, or ashamed. Jesus also said, “And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say…” (Luke 12:11). He was warning His disciples of what they’d face and how they’d feel. But the principle applies to us. We fear being inadequate, ashamed, abandoned, unprepared, or incapable. We’re afraid of not being enough. There are also those crucial times when we need God the most, and we feel surrounded by enemies. It’s then that we fear deep down: Will God show up? Will I be alone and abandoned? Will He stand with me, beside me, and up for me?
Jesus knew His little flock would fear these things. He continued, “…for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:12). Sister, you don’t need to fear being left alone to handle what you face. You don’t need to fear feeling inadequate or ashamed. Your Shepherd will always stand with you, beside you, and up for you. Psalm 23:5 says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” You may face situations that make you feel inadequate or alone but don’t fear because you’re safe with your Shepherd. He’s with you.
- The fear of not having what you need. In Luke 12:22, Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.” We fear that we won’t have what we need—especially this year when so many have lost their jobs and are in financial crisis. And, when it comes to worrying about our bodies, most of us in the U.S. aren’t worrying whether we’ll have enough food. But we do fear losing our health, getting sick, and what we’ll do when our body isn’t working as well as it used to.
But Jesus continued, “Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” (Luke 12:24). He also said, “Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you…” (Luke 12:27-28). You may fear losing your health or not having enough, but you’re safe with your Shepherd. He supplies everything you need, and He’s everything you need. He’s with you.
- The fear of not being loved and accepted by God. Jesus said, in Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” We don’t often fear that God won’t come through and give us what He promises. Deep down, we know He will—if He says He’ll give us the kingdom, then He’ll give us the kingdom!! Our base fear is how God may feel about us. We worry that it isn’t His good pleasure to give us what He promises. We’re afraid that we’re His drudgery and not His delight, and that we’re the target of judgment rather than a source of joy. We fear not being loved or accepted by Him.
But Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Friend, His goodness to you isn’t dependent on your greatness. You may feel like an outsider, but you will dwell in the house of the Lord because you’re His family. You may worry He doesn’t love you, but His mercy and love never leave you. It’s God’s pleasure—it makes Him happy—to give you what you need and make you safe in Him. He’s with you.
The key to feeling safe is being with your Shepherd in every season. And, He is with you right now. Whatever you face, you don’t face it alone. However you feel, your Shepherd understands and wants to walk through those emotions with you. So, stay close to Him today.
And until next week, may you find rest in green pastures. Remember, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Free Song Download
- “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” by Michael O’Brien is one of my favorite songs. Click here for a free download of this beautiful song.
Bible Studies and Jewelry by Jennifer Rothschild
More from Michael O’Brien
- Visit Michael’s website
- Be Still My Soul CD
- Christmas Cheer With Karen Kingsbury & Michael O’Brien [Episode 15]
- Spill the Beans LIVE With Laura Story, Karen Abercrombie, & Michael O’Brien [Episode 80 at Fresh Grounded Faith West Michigan]
- Spill the Beans LIVE With Sheila Walsh, Shaun Groves, & Michael O’Brien at Fresh Grounded Faith Fargo, ND [Episode 100]
- Follow Michael on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram