‘I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
‘And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.’
“Even the hairs of your head are all counted.” I’ve reached an age when I’ve made it relatively easy for God to count the hairs on my almost bald head. This statement both amazes and encourages me. It tells me that God knows every detail about me and cares enough to bother about every detail. To me it means that the God who created everything does not ignore insignificant me.
What is significant in this world that can sometimes seem to be dominated and controlled by social media? One person’s thoughts can be passed on and shared time and time again until the reasons it was said are no longer clear and it can easily become false news.
It is good to remind ourselves that God knows us and knows what matters. When we wonder what is true or what is false, we can be sure that we have the Holy Spirit to guide us.
“Do not be afraid.” Those words must reassure us. You will be reading this in mid-March and I am writing it in November, so I can only guess that Brexit will still be a big issue as you read. As I write many people are afraid of losing their jobs or losing power, afraid of the uncertainty that looms. No matter what is decided in Westminster and Europe we need to hang onto the certainty that we should not be afraid if we put our whole trust in God. The one certainty is God who says, “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6) and the writer to the Hebrews confirms that Jesus is unchanging in 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
We can rejoice that no matter what is happening, our God knows us and cares about us and will never change.
Loving God Take away my fears and uncertainties; give me the peace of knowing you. Remind me of your power and unchanging love. Remind me that you know and care about me. When I worry or fear, help me to rely on, and trust in, you, the unchanging God. Thank you for sending your Jesus, your son, who was willing to come; I pray in His name. Amen
John Collings is a Lay Preacher and member of Rutherglen URC in Scotland.