How Do We Overcome Fear?

Fear can distract us from a life of faith.

In my morning Bible study I have been reading about Nehemiah’s leadership in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, the city with a temple for God’s presence.

The Jews had enemies that did not want them to rebuild the walls. At first these enemies jeered and mocked them. When that didn’t stop the work on the wall, the enemy made a plan to attack.

But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. Nehemiah 4:7-8

Nehemiah prayed.

And we prayed to our God and set a guard of protection against them day and night. Nehemiah 4:9

Some of the people let fear take hold of them.

In Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.” Nehemiah 4:10

Nehemiah responded with a plan to guard every section of the wall as they rebuilt it. With prayer and dependence on God, with a strategic plan, the work continued.

As I mused on this text I thought about the way fear can be a controlling force. How is the cloud of fear surrounding the pandemic affecting me?

I can follow Nehemiah’s example of prayer. Nehemiah also had a practical plan, and then he stayed focused on the work God had called him to do.

More and more I have recognized my need for God’s wisdom. The time I spend in prayer is growing. My family has decisions to make regarding my mother’s care in the nursing home. The lockdown, the inability to visit is hard. 

We are encouraged to pray. Jesus is ready to intercede for us.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

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The View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives: Visiting Gethsemane

In 2012 my husband and I made a trip to Israel with a group of friends from our church. It was amazing to see the places that we had read about in the Bible. The two weeks in Israel were an encouragement to our faith.

When we went to Jerusalem we visited the places mentioned in the events of Holy Week, leading to the crucifixion.

The church of Dominus Flevit is on the Mount of Olives, not far from the Garden of Gethsemane. A window of this church gives a view of Jerusalem. The golden dome is the Dome of the Rock, which sits in the same place that Israel’s temple once stood.

The olive tree in this picture is ancient. Perhaps it was there when Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested.

We went to the Church of St. Peter. In the courtyard there is a sculpture depicting Peter with the maiden that questioned him about being a disciple of Jesus. Peter denied knowing Jesus.

Below this church—we walked down a stairway to view an ancient and deep hole. A sign near this Sacred Pit gave an explanation.

Prompted by the dungeon-like appearance of the pit and its proximity to Caiaphas’ palace, thought to have been located in this general area, the Byzantines recalled here Jesus imprisonment overnight as he awaited trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhredrin. Faithful to this ancient tradition, Christians continue to remember Jesus, the Suffering Servant of the Lord, placing on his lips the words of the psalmist:

My soul is surfeited with troubles . . . You have plunged me into the bottom of the pit . . . Upon me your wrath lies heavy . . . I am imprisoned and cannot escape . . . O Lord I call upon you. Psalm 88

We walked along the Via Dolorosa and visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Finally we visited the garden tomb.