Don't be afraid. A simple thing to say, but not so easy to execute. To control fear is often a case of easier said than done. But, if God is for us, how can we fear? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) We can pray these words every day and still end up pleading, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24)

God is on our side. This is repeated throughout Scripture. In Psalm 27 [:1], for example, the psalmist writes: "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Everyone in the world can wage war against us, plot our death, imagine how they will ruin us, and destroy our good name and reputation, but the Lord is still with us. We are even strengthened by God during these times of struggle and affliction.

Who has all the power and authority? Who has promised, "I with you always, even unto the end of the ages"? Who lifts us when we fall? Who turns our weeping into a celebration? Who invigorates us when we lose heart?

False prophets and preachers come and go. Every generation has its fair share of religious charlatans and their devotees who persecute God's chosen people. They do it because they've twisted the Ten Commandments. They do it because they come preaching "another gospel," as St. Paul writes. We're even warned by Jesus that they will torment us because they believe they're doing God's will.

People will speak against us for our dogged insistence that Jesus is our only comfort. Religious people will try to convince us we don't have true faith because we're more concerned about the forgiveness of sins than how our works earn God's favor. Religious leaders will seize upon any slip-up or stumble to point out that we're undeserving of God's grace and mercy.

But all of their attacks will be repelled by God. He is our refuge. The cross is our shield because there Jesus defeated all the powers and authorities who claim to speak and act for God. All those who turn their back to Golgotha to plot our destruction.

No matter who or what chooses us as their enemy, we've received God's promise that there's nothing to fear. He will be our Light and Salvation. He will be our strength. (Psalm 27:1,14) We don't have to be afraid because our heavenly Father shields us from doom.

We can face anything that comes at us because God is at our side. He is a shield in front of us. He strengthens us to stand up to the onslaught. What others see as our destruction is, in truth, something God uses for our salvation.

Our God turns everything in upon itself at Calvary. On the cross, Jesus takes all our problems and troubles, struggles and afflictions, and sin-riddled life, and casts them into the brain-dead void of his death. Jesus gave His life on the cross for our sins. He won the battle over all that horrifies and terrifies us.

He strengthens us with His Word so that we will not be afraid of anyone of anything. He promises to never let us down. He swears an oath by His Name to never leave or forsake us. He takes and leads us past every threat, every shot fired, each word that's weaponized to destroy us. He leads us past it all so that we may enjoy His victory over sin, death, and hell that was won for us in Jesus' death and resurrection.

Jesus, God's Word, gives us the courage and strengthens our hearts. He helps us in every time of need. The courage with which Jesus faced torture, execution, and death is the same courage He instills in us today through His Gospel and salvific gifts.

So we wait for our God to act as the patriarchs, psalmist, and prophets waited. We have courage because He speaks to us and His Word encourages us. We trust that God will defend us and use our enemy's attacks against them, to destroy them. They will stumble and fall. Therefore, what do we have to fear? The Lord God is on our side.