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Faith & Insight: ‘Afraid, yet filled with joy’

By Ken Haskins

“So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.” How could they be afraid and at the same time “filled with joy?” Actually, such a pairing of fear and joy is not unusual.

When I was a very young man, I remember an episode at a zoo. It was about feeding time for the gorillas. Foolishly, I set about to teasing a silverback gorilla. Like a bolt of lightning, he lunged at me and I was frozen with fear, yet filled with joy because the bars held as that gorilla strained against them. Otherwise, I would not be putting pen to paper today! I now possess a healthy fear – a greater respect for all God’s creatures.

The women were afraid at the sight of the heavenly messenger whose appearance was like lightning. Still, they were not paralyzed with fear like the guards at the tomb. The guards may have had good reason to be afraid, but the women were faithful. They knew and loved Jesus. Their fear would begin to subside when the angel spoke, “Do not be afraid” and “He has risen!”

Along their way, they met the risen Lord. They took hold of him and worshiped him. He said, “Do not be afraid” and “Go and tell.” Fear was now gone. Only joy remained. Jesus turns fear into joy everyday!

Once the disciples of Christ were caught in a terrible storm at sea. They tried everything to save themselves, but could not. They were afraid that they would perish. Then, Jesus came to them, walking on the water. Their fear gave way to joy. Even Peter walked on water with Jesus, but when he took his eyes off of Jesus and began to focus upon his surroundings and circumstances, he began to sink. However, Jesus was close and he reached out to save Peter.

Jesus taught, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He also promised that “your grief will turn to joy” and “no one will take away your joy.”

The women who made their way to the tomb on that Resurrection Sunday were anxious about many things, not the least of which was who would roll away the stone?

Why do we worry so when Jesus tells us not to worry? Most of the things we worry about never become an issue – the stone was rolled away! For the other issues, he gives us strength to get through them.

I will rejoice in the Lord always! I will determine to live the abundant life that only Jesus gives. I will refuse to allow fear to paralyze me. Fear robs us of life.

One who has a fear of flying does not travel the world. One who fears heights does not float among the clouds in a balloon. You get the picture. What will it be for you? Fear or faith? Terror or trust? Only trust Jesus! Let him turn your fear into joy!

Ken Haskins is the pastor for First Christian Church and a member of the Carson City Ministerial Association.