Contents

[Cover of Beyond Our Fears LG]

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1. Faith Overcomes Fear . . . 7

Keep watch because you do not know the day or the hour. —Matthew 25:13

Faith is not just about trusting God to provide light when we find ourselves in the darkness of a crisis. Faith also means preparing, before the crisis comes, to carry Godís light.

Story: Carmen almost loses her faith when Hurricane Katrina destroys her house in Pass Christian, Mississippi. When volunteers from Mennonite Disaster Service come to rebuild her house, she trusts God again and devotes her time to helping others in need.

Bible text: Matthew 25:1-13—The parable of the bridesmaids.

2. Compassion Overcomes Blame . . . 15

Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so thatGodís works might be revealed in him.—John 9:3

It is natural for us to ask who or what is responsible for a crisis. The Scriptures, however, call us to focus on the opportunities we have to show Godís grace and compassion, regardless of who is at fault.

Story: Nothando and her friend Abeni find their lives turned upside down by the AIDS epidemic in Zimbabwe, southern Africa. Despite the prejudices and fears of their family and friends, they choose to care for those who are suffering, regardless of their background.

Bible text: John 9:1-34—The man born blind.

3. Service Overcomes Self-Preservation . . . 21

Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus . . . —Philippians 2:4-7

Our human reaction is to escape or to build walls of protection around ourselves when our health or safety is threatened. God calls us to be prudent, but also to follow Jesus, who gave his own life in service to others.

Story: A strange disease, SARS, threatens to spread throughout Toronto in the spring of 2003. Amanda, a nurse, must wear protective clothing at work, and is quarantined at home. But she knows that she is doing what God has called her to do: care for sick people, no matter what the personal risks.

Bible text: Philippians 2:1-11—God comes as a human servant.

4. Living in Hope Overcomes Darkness . . . 27

If you . . . satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.óIsaiah 58:10

The light of God will shine in the darkness of any crisis as the church participates faithfully and courageously in Godís restoring work.

Story: In 1666, two local church leaders convince the people of Eyam, England, to voluntarily quarantine their village to keep the bubonic plague from spreading to neighboring communities. Today the village is still remembered as a beacon of sacrificial love.

Bible text: Isaiah 58:1-12—A promise of light.

Appendixes . . . 33

1. Bishop Cyprian Leads a Caring Movement

A story based on the witness of the church during the plagues of the third century.

2. Resources for Further Reading

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