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I used to hear my grandmother quote this, "We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we forget the way the Lord has led us and His teaching in our past history." I didn’t understand it all, but I did know fear.

Fear is when you’re three years old and you’re sure your parents are going to forget to pick you up from kindergarten at church. Bone-chilling fear for a 7-year-old is knowing all the clocks stopped at home and Dad is going to pick you up three hours late from baseball practice and you’re left standing in the middle of unknown territory with nothing but a baseball glove to fight off the monsters that are hiding behind every bush and tree.

Maybe you can’t empathize with those fears. But I can, because I’ve experienced all of them. Why was I afraid? How many times had abusive parents left me to fend for myself? How many times had they forgotten to pick me up from anywhere? Never!

OK, so maybe you were never afraid of being left behind, but you are afraid of something. Everyone’s afraid of something. It’s a fact of life. In fact the Bible predicts in Luke 21: 26 that “the courage of many people will falter because of the fearful fate they see coming upon the earth...” 

If I had understood what that writer meant when she wrote, “We have nothing to fear … except as we shall forget … our past,” it would have saved me a lot of childhood panic.

They Forgot the Past 

But I’m not the only one who forgets. The Israelites did pretty well on that score. When God led them out of captivity, He opened the Red Sea, led them with a cloud of fire, sent water from a rock, manna from heaven, and yet when Moses left them for 40 days and nights to be with God on Mt. Sinai, thousands of those same people caught amnesia and built a god out of their finest gold. They built a calf and worshipped it. If I had been God, if I had performed all those miracles for them and they preferred a cow, I would have wiped out the whole bunch. Lucky for us, God doesn’t work that way. He knows we’ll be afraid and loves us anyway.

Had the Israelites remembered God’s leading, they wouldn’t have traded him in on a shiny new god. Had I remembered how my parents treated me in the past, I wouldn’t have worried they'd abandon me. My past also reminds me that God's always looking out for me. "Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away" (Romans 8:38).

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By Scott Reed. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the New Living Translation © 1996.

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