I was reminded today in my devotional reading that in the scriptures, the words “be not afraid” or “do not be afraid” are always followed by an extraordinary event. Mary receives word from the angels about being the mother of the Messiah and she’s told not to be afraid. Joseph receives a similar revelation and he is told not to fear. The shepherds are given the message and the challenge to fear not is repeated. The same takes place when Jesus calms the storm and on the first Easter morning. In each case, the phrase “do not be afraid” introduces a revelation of God that brings with it great hope.

But why must we repeatedly be admonished not to fear? Are hope and fear intertwined?

Bishop Robert Schnase writes, “Times of great hope stir up our fears. Even positive changes are disruptive and disturbing and painful. They are wrought with risk, loss, change and threat. Hope and growth and change and uncertainty are both a wonderful and wonderfully stressful mix.”

What I know for certain is that we cannot grab on to something wonderfully new without first letting go of something old. I’m ready to let go, how about you?