Lent: Day Seven

...Do not be afraid... -Matthew 28:5

Fear is often mentioned throughout the Psalms, gospels, and the epistles. On resurrection morning, Mary Magdalene is admonished at the empty tomb by an angel and then the risen Christ with the words: “Do not be afraid.”

I recently spent several days with my 89-year-old independent mother. A “life limiting illness” developed for her that required hospitalization and also around the clock care in her farm home of nearly 70 years. As we saw her weakness and struggle, we wondered if this was the time for mom to meet her Savior.

One of the real benefits for me in our extended days together was to observe and participate in mom’s daily walk of faith. We had many conversations about her life experiences. Mom grew up during the Depression, with a severe father and a quiet, godly mother and 6 younger siblings. At age 16 she was invited by her aunt to a Youth for Christ event in Forest City. Mom recalled being “compelled to respond to the obvious call of Jesus. That decision changed the entire direction of my life.” Through over 60 years of marriage on a working farm, raising four children, serving in the local church community, weathering illness and disappointment and also having great blessing, mom has known the reality and nearness of Jesus.

As I read scriptures during those hard days, mom joined in repeating familiar promises and inspired words. Through tear filled eyes we prayed to the Savior mom loves so dearly. One of our frequent prayers was to “not be afraid.” We affirmed Jesus is with us continually and His love and grace is limitless for us. We prayed for more faith to trust Him with her future, whatever it was. Even in the shadow of death, we wanted to fear no evil.

And what great answers He gave us! His calming peace was often obvious in those challenging days. Mom improved remarkably and is currently spending some days unattended in her home. We continue to trust Jesus for her future. The grace of God was extended to me through my mother’s trust in her Savior Jesus. “Be not afraid” has another layer of understanding for both of us.

I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.” -Psalm 34:4