"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Yesterday a student was stabbed by her boyfriend. They closed the gates of the school until they had taken the man into custody and rushed the girl to the hospital. The news spread like wildfire on campus, and many girls were afraid to walk back to their dorms. (Today's rumors say that the girl is doing better and has passed the critical stage.)
During my morning quiet time, I was thinking about what I could say to students who might be afraid. I started to notice that the Word doesn't say, "Do not fear, because nothing bad will happen." Instead, the reason not to fear is the presence of a strong and loving Father. "Do not fear" -- Why? -- "Because I am with you."
The topic of fear came up again at dinnertime, when some students got to talking about horror movies. One guy postulated that he is particularly prone to bad dreams from horror movies because of the traditional beliefs in the village he grew up in. People in the town believed that the ghosts of the recently dead could "infect" you, and he went several times to see an older lady who did some traditional tests to see if he was "infected." (This involved having a pair of chopsticks and an egg stand on end.) As it turns out, he was infected by the ghost, and the cure was something like acupuncture.
But really, acupuncture can't deliver us from fear. We need a strong and loving Father walking by our side.