When I Am Afraid

Today's devotion from Psalms 55, 56, & 57.

As I read through these words today, I had to pause and let them confront me. The title of Psalm 56 tells us that this was written by David when the Philistines seized him. That would truly have been a terrifying experience. The Psalm begins the way we would imagine, with the psalmist crying out to God for help. I totally get that.

Then, David gives a confession. The same David who showed no fear as a young man when confronted with lions and bears, the same David who stood before the giant, a battle-hardened soldier who could not build the Temple because he had shed too much blood, this David confesses to fear. "When I am afraid," he writes. He is not above fear, but apparently just knows how to handle it.

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?" (Psalm 56:3-4, ESV) We might be tempted to read his bold statement, "I shall not be afraid," and interpret that to mean that he actually does not fear. However that would be a mistake. When he is afraid, David looks to his God who overshadows those fears.

It's not that the fears do not exist, or that David somehow reasons them away. They are there. They are real. But the presence of God is enough to overwhelm the fear because He is there. He is real. In that reality, what can these Philistines do to him? Nothing that God would not allow to happen.

This causes me to give an honest assessment of my own life. I would be a liar to try and say that I had no fears, that I was never afraid. Sure, I'm not often confronted with Philistines in Gath, but the source of fear is not as important as the source of hope. Terrorists are active in new ways that are both destructive and increasingly difficult to predict and defend. The economy can always be counted on for a good fright. And I'm the father of three in a culture that will not relent until it tears itself apart.

I am afraid.

However, where will I put my trust? No political party, no security measure, no financial plan can provide the hope that I seek. I can't provide the answers I need. And Google seems to only provide more reasons to panic. No. We must remember that WHEN we are afraid, there is only one source of hope, and He is the Lord our God.