2 Nephi 8:12-13
Several weeks ago I gave a talk in sacrament meeting in which I told the congregation that my default emotions are fear and anxiety. Ever since I was young I have worried (to an almost debilitating degree) about what people think of me. I fear their judgment, treatment, potential insults, attitude; and then I fear repeated contact. Serving a mission helped me overcome some of this fear but I have found recently that much of my social and interpersonal fears still prevent me from sharing the Gospel the way I should. Fear is a problem for me. This is probably one of my crosses to bear in mortality but many of us wrestle with fear, whatever form it takes on an individual level.
Which is why I find Jacob’s quotation from Isaiah so poignant! The Lord questions, “who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of man, who shall die” (v. 12)? I perked up when I read this. Isn’t God always reminding us in the scriptures that man is nothing (see Moses 1:10)? Why should I fear man who will die considering that God is eternal? And He further reminds us that “the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth, He is “the Lord thy God, whose waves roared” (v. 13, 15). God is all powerful, He created the Earth and all humankind. He is the only being in the universe we should fear. But this fear that He asks of us is respect and obedience. Even though He could reach out and destroy anything He wanted, instead God has “covered thee in the shadow of [His] hand” (v. 16). God wants to protect, preserve, and bless us. He is merciful and kind. Like the Psalmist, we can say with absolute confidence, “The Lord is on my side” (Psalm 118:6).