I, the Lord, your God,
I am holding you by the right hand;
I tell you–do not be afraid;
I will help you.
Do not be afraid, Jacob, poor worm,
Israel, puny mite.
I will help you–it is the Lord who speaks–
the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer.
‘Do not be afraid…puny mite.’ These words fall on anxious ears today. Some days I find it easy to identify with the ‘poor worm’ or ‘puny mite’–today is one of those days. I should no longer find it odd that on the days when I feel most crushed, most empty, that I am least likely to stop by the well and drink. Against my desire to keep striving, I pause. And I am struck in these verses by the repetition of two things: the reassurance that it is the Lord who is speaking, and the admonition ‘do not be afraid.’
I am a small and weak creature, though some days I may deceive myself into thinking otherwise. But it is precisely in realizing this truth about myself–poor worm–that I am reminded that my size and strength are not at issue. The Lord speaks, and speaks the truth: ‘I am holding you by the right hand’ and there is nothing to fear. Whatever it is that speaks fear is not the Lord speaking, for the Lord speaks peace and courage, the Lord speaks help and comfort.
Come, Word of God, and speak light into my darkness.