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Lenten Devotionals Wednesday March 1, 2023: Fear for Others

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts our fear.”  (1 John 4:18a)

I fear for others more than for myself.  I fear for my husband’s safety when he travels.  I fear for my children as I send them off to school, picturing the latest lock down drill becoming a necessary reality.  I fear for my parents as a hurricane barrels towards Florida.  Fear rises also for innocent lives in peril.  As Russian bombs fall on Ukraine, I fear for this struggling country’s people.  How much more can they withstand?  As Kim Jong-Un tests another nuclear warhead,  I fear for those who must live with him and near him.   As the young women of Iran flood the streets in protest, I fear the Islamic Republic’s response.

Fear is easy to come by these days.  1 John suggests love as the balm.  Love has the power to cast out fear, according to the author of this epistle.  When I travel, I feel my husband’s love traveling with me as I text him updates:  “On the plane.”  “Landed in Houston.”  “At my hotel.”  His love and desire for my safety follows me.  Can I trust the same when he travels?  Instead of picturing accidents and danger, can I picture him surrounded in love?

Earlier in 1 John 4 we read “God is love.”  When we send our love to others, we send them God.  When I intentionally pause in the morning before school to look into my kids’ eyes and say, “I love you,” I may still worry, but I will have sent them with all the assurances love and God provide.

Examine:  Sit with your fears for others.  Breathe. Notice thoughts and feelings that arise.

Imagine:  Imagine God’s love above you like the sun.  Can you feel its warmth?  Visualize God’s love moving through you, consuming and casting out your fear.

Pray:  Free me from fear, O God, so I can live with faith.