In the face of overwhelmingly unexpected events or great uncertainty, fear is our natural human response. But these two women are told twice, first by angels and then by Jesus, “Do not be afraid.” Can we fight that fear? Can we resist it?
Or, is there another answer? Is the problem rooted in the way that we view things in general?
If we are attached to worldly outcomes, we naturally fear negative outcomes in this life (or even the possibility of negative outcomes). If our most important goals are in this world, then not realizing those goals can be crushing. Losing out on things to which we are attached is very, very difficult.
But, if our perspective is focused on our relationship with God, then our priorities (often gradually) become less about things of this world. Our focus becomes on living this life in a way that is focused on the next. That does not mean that we ignore our worldly responsibilities. It does not mean that we stop striving for goals in this life. It does mean that we learn to roll with unexpected events in this life. It does mean that fear becomes much less a part of our existence.
Jesus’ appearance to the women helped to drive out their fear. The overwhelming and incomprehensible remained joyful, but they became less fearful about it. Their focus changes to the reality of the Risen Lord in front of them and to their love for him.
By contrast, the actions of the guards and the chief priests indicate fear. A fear that they will carry with them for a long time. A fear of the truth. A fear of that truth becoming known.
Here in Clay County, it appears that we have not reached the peak of this pandemic. Fear can become a real problem. Jesus tells us too, “Do not be afraid.” We do all that we can to follow best practices for prevention of this disease. But we do not know what lies ahead for us. However, if we can shift our focus to our love of our Lord, he can help to drive out our fear.