In Ezra 3 it says that despite their fear of the peoples all around them, the people built an alter to the Lord. And that phrase – despite their fear has really resonated with me. We see a lot of people afraid at the moment, and that fear is evidenced in lots of different ways; panic buying, hoarding things, selfishly grabbing as much as they can for themselves. Being rude, or isolating people who cough in public, there are all kinds of ways in which fear can have a negative impact.
This verse says despite their fears. In other words, it acknowledges that there is fear. It acknowledges that there is something to be afraid of. We don’t deal with our fear by pretending it isn’t there. Courage isn’t that there is nothing to be afraid of. Courage is going forward despite our fears. What might we do despite our fear, and what might worshipping God despite our fears look like?
Maybe it’s simply not to buy as much food as we possibly can, but to allow others to shop as well. Maybe it’s to share our toilet rolls. Maybe it’s to treat kindly and gently those who we see that look unwell or are fearful or anxious. We have already talked in these devotionals about contacting our neighbours and doing other things to help people. But I wonder what things we might do that involves us overcoming a fear. Doing something that we might be apprehensive about, but we recognise that God is asking us to do it. Now I don’t mean putting other people at risk, or our own health at risk. I do not mean going out when we really shouldn’t be, because that puts the NHS under needless pressure, so I am not talking about those kinds of things.
I am just talking about little ways in which in our life we might carry on doing what God has asked us to do for the people around us despite out fears. And to acknowledge our fears and yet trust that God is with us, and despite our fears we will continue to worship our God and our King, giving thanks for His love and care and where we can see that He is at work among us.