Monday, August 6, 2012

Delivered From Fear

I have talked a lot about fear on this blog, probably because more than any other sin in my life, fear is my biggest besetting sin. I imagine that I am probably not alone. Even now you can probably think of a myriad of fears that plague you on a daily basis. And when those fears rise up and threaten to overwhelm us we are so prone to think that if we can just get past that moment we will be able to truly conquer our fears. I tend to have markers for my fear. For example, when I am flying on an airplane I think if I can just get to cruising altitude, or at least halfway through the flight, I won’t be afraid anymore. My marker is my barometer for fear. My fear is based on the changing of my circumstances. But what inevitably happens? My circumstances don’t always change. The plane hits turbulence for the duration of the flight. And my trusty marker is not a worthy protection against fear.

The psalmist doesn’t look for markers or changes in circumstances when he is faced with fear. Rather, he gives us a foolproof way to fight our fears.

Seek the Lord.

David says, in Psalm 34:4, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all of my fears.” There are two things to notice immediately about this verse. The first is that David has fears. That’s comforting for all of us reading the Bible today, right? Here is the man after God’s own heart and he faces fears just like the rest of us. Second, we see that David does something with those fears that seems to remove them from him.

The remedy for fighting fear is not to set-up markers or to hope in better circumstances. We might hit the markers, but there will always be something else to fear. And while our circumstances might change for a little while, the fact that we live in a fallen world ensures that we will be dealing with frightening circumstances until we are with Jesus in heaven.

He will deliver us from our fears. This does not mean that our circumstances will necessarily change, but it does mean that we will have hope in the midst of frightening days. As we seek the Lord our perspective changes. We see the God who holds it all together. We are given renewed hope that he is in control, not whatever is paralyzing us with fear. When we seek the Lord in our moments of fear (and all of the time, really) we are able to trust him in greater measure. Seeking the Lord, as David did, is really an exercise of faith in the God who has promised to never leave us or forsake us. Fear can cause us to forget this very important truth.

Fighting fear is an active faith. It means choosing to seek the Lord even when the flaming darts of frightening circumstances are flying at our head a million miles a minute. But as David learned, so can we learn that seeking the Lord is the only lasting remedy for the fears that assail us.

Whenever I prepare for a flight I always have to do battle with my fears. And this is just one of the many fears I face on a regular basis. The fears might change, but the answer stays the same. The God who controls all things, including the outcome of my fears, is worthy of my trust. He has, and will continue to, deliver me from all of my many fears. All I need to do is seek him.

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