“When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” — Psalm 56:3-4 (NIV)
“Fear not.” That’s the message of lots of angels in the Bible, and some times the Lord himself when he appeared. John’s first epistle reminds us that perfect love casts out fear. And yet we all fear.
Some of us fear many things. All of us fear sometimes. Unemployed? Sick with a catastrophic disease? Seriously injured? Recently widowed? These only scratch the surface of major, long-term uncertainties that can cause the hardiest of us to fear. How can we accept the words “fear not” in such turmoil?
David, fleeing for his life from Saul, first tried to find refuge among the Philistines of Gath, but they recognized him and quoted to their king that “Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands.” The king he had hoped would shelter him now seemed as great a threat as Saul. David feigned insanity in order to be expelled from Gath instead of executed.
As he often did, David responded to this event by writing a poem, which we know as Psalm 56. In his fear, he did not panic. He turned to God in trust–a lifelong habit. This occasion was not the first time he had faced fear, nor would it be the last. We see in these two verses that his fear sent him to God. As he praised God and God’s word to him, the fear departed.
Are you threatened as David was? I don’t mean fleeing from one person seeking to kill you only to find someone else who wants to kill you. Does anything turn your life into complete turmoil and chaos, and you can’t see an end to it?
Do as David did. Even though it may seem that God has abandoned you and all his earlier promises to you appear empty, trust God and praise him for those very promises. Then you, too, can testify, “When I am afraid, . . . I will not be afraid.” You, too, can find peace and assurance in the midst of your greatest struggles.