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The freeing power of trust in Jesus’ resurrection

January 28, 2022
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Daily Scripture

Hebrews 2:10-15

10 It was appropriate for God, for whom and through whom everything exists, to use experiences of suffering to make perfect the pioneer of salvation. This salvation belongs to many sons and daughters whom he’s leading to glory. 11 This is because the one who makes people holy and the people who are being made holy all come from one source. That is why Jesus isn’t ashamed to call them brothers and sisters when he says,
12 I will publicly announce your name to my brothers and sisters.|
I will praise you in the middle of the assembly [Psalm 22:22].
13 He also says,
I will rely on him [Isaiah 8:17, Septuagint—the Greek translation of the Old Testament].
And also,
Here I am with the children whom God has given to me [Isaiah 8:18].
14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he also shared the same things in the same way. He did this to destroy the one who holds the power over death—the devil—by dying. 15 He set free those who were held in slavery their entire lives by their fear of death.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

From ancient Rome to now, the ultimate human threat is, “I will kill you.” We still have Roman Empire records in which officials puzzled over how little that threat seemed to affect Jesus’ followers. In a way that those officials couldn’t grasp, Jesus, dying and rising again, set all of his followers free from even the fear of death.

  • Long before Christians wrote formal “creeds,” Paul used a simple, straightforward statement of their core faith: “we believe that Jesus died and rose” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). The writer of the letter to the Hebrews was calling on that same faith in today’s Scripture passage. In what situations or relationships have you had reason to treasure that faith-based freedom from fear?
  • The human fear of death is so deep-seated that, if we haven’t faced it, we may be unable to “be there” emotionally for friends, family members or even ourselves when illness or accident threatens someone’s life. Can you accept that one day in this world you will die? Bone deep, do you move beyond thinking of Jesus’ resurrection as a long-ago story to “counting on it” to give you peace that there is, in fact, life on the other side of death?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, “fear not” (in various forms) are your words that the Bible repeats most often. Teach me how to look to you as my light even at the most frightening times. Help me live free from a debilitating fear of death. Amen.

GPS Insights

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Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook is the Entry Points Program Director at Resurrection, a self-proclaimed foodie, a bookworm, and is always planning her next trip. She has the sweetest (and sassiest) daughter, Carolina Rae, a rockstar husband, Austin, and a cutie pup named Thunder. She loves connecting with others so let her know the best place you've ever eaten, best book you've ever read, or best place you've ever been!

As someone who has struggled with anxiety for years (many of those before I became a parent, when that anxiety increased triple-fold), I can relate to this passage of fear. What started out as simple fears (like failing a test, being somehow humiliated at school, disappointing my parents, losing a game or competition, not being liked, and other minor things that felt huge at age thirteen) developed over time to become bigger fears.

As I entered adulthood it became: What if I can’t get a job? What if I lose my job? What if my husband loses his job? What if I can’t make friends in a new city? What if we can’t ever have a baby? What if something hurts me or my family?

Enter a global pandemic and then the fears were even bigger. What if I get sick? What if my grandparents get sick and can’t overcome it, my parents, my friends? What if my daughter gets sick? What if our daycare closes? What if this never ends?

What if bad things happen?

They do. They all have. I have faced almost every one of these fears at some point in my life. You probably have too.

I think back to a specific time when my husband and I were struggling to have our daughter. After a dark year, we found out we were pregnant and thought we were past the “bad stuff” for a while, especially as we were also moving into our first home together. When we were seven months pregnant, my husband lost his job and health insurance. We ended up having to sell our new home and move to be closer to our support system, and I was so afraid. I didn’t know how to be a parent, I didn’t know what jobs either of us would find, I didn’t know when our house would sell, I didn’t know what doctor or hospital would help me in my final months of pregnancy, I didn’t know what to do.

I look back on that time now and wonder why I was so afraid. I wonder how I forgot that despite all my questions and all my fears, God was there. He knew the answers, even when I didn’t. All I needed to do was trust in God’s promises instead of grasping wildly for control.

Now we are all facing the third year of a pandemic. If you have a child under five, as I do, you’re afraid for your child who can’t be vaccinated yet. You’re afraid of the fatigue, the loss, the exhaustion, the burnout. You’re afraid of all the side effects of a pandemic (childcare, employment, inflation, shortages, testing, etc.) Not to mention all the other run-of-the-mill fears that normal life brings.

Don’t look back at this time and wonder how you forgot about your divine Father. God is here. God has the answers, even when we don’t. Lean on God, remember His promises, rely on His faithfulness and goodness. Count on it–he’s got you.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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