What are your fears? Dark alleys at night? heights? ok, but think a little deeper. are you fearful of financial hardship? family turmoil? false rumors/ruined reputation? think about the things that make you lose sleep. you know, the things that make you argue with yourself when no one else is around. the events and happenings that cause tears.
take a minute and write some of the big ones down. maybe a few of the little ones too. they are all fears and we are going to talk about dealing with them biblically, but before we start i want you to have a hard copy in front of you.
got it? really? did you actually write them down or are you just ignoring me? remember, answer honestly.
look at Psalm 56:3-4
"When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise, In God I will put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?"
there are 3 things i really want us to draw from these verses in relation to dealing with our fears. 1) an active purpose, 2) the order, 3) thank God.
1) an active purpose
Whenever i read these verses i think of the song that i knew as a child with the same words. well, almost. the difference being "i will put my trust in You." do to the melody they picked, they left out the word "put" and i think that word is very important. so let me start there.
"put" is a very simple word that even the smallest child knows. "put that back" "put your shoes on" "put your book away." it involves action. really doing something. not just thinking about it. there is movement and purpose behind that word. so when i apply that to this verse it strikes me that i must actively purpose to put my trust in God.
while our God is omnipotent, and His will is the final word on everything, He is no dictator. He will not pry our fears out of our clenched hands. He doesn't demand that you fork them over. no, He waits for us to give them over to Him. and putting something in God's hands is not a long drawn out process of labor and learning how. you simply put it there and (as long as you don't snatch it back so that you can worry about it some more) it's done. God has it and He will take care of it.
is there a reason that you hesitate to put it with God? do you really think that you can handle them better? do you think that He won't take care of them? that He won't take care of you? these seem to be fairly rhetorical questions, but if we really are honest, a lot of us still struggle with just giving it to God and leaving it there.
"Cast your burdens upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."
what about when i have given it to the Lord one day, and the next day i break down and grab it back? when i was at peace about it for a whole week and then couldn't sleep last night because it consumed me again?
don't fret about it. our God is one of infinite patience and mercy. He wants what is best for us. and while He does allow us to feel the affects of our sinful choices, He will never show us attitude because we messed up. remember the prodigal son? if we have trusted in the sacrifice of His Son for atonement of our sins, we are His child. adopted into the family of God. He's not going to tisk His tongue at us because we gave into fear about something we had previously given to Him.
So don't feel bad, don't hide from Him, just put it with God & trust that He will most wisely deal with it.
2) the order
see the difference of wording in verse 3&4? look at that difference and the contrast is creates. it's beautiful!
"When i am afraid, I will put my trust in You."
In verse 3, fear comes first and they use the word "when".
"In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid."
But in verse 4, the "put" comes first and now it's a "shall not".
when fears come into your life, you don't have to live with them. You can take them to God and, as we've already talked about, He will take care of them. But if you prepare, when you work to trust in God first, while the road is smooth and things are fairly easy, then when things get hard and all those things on your list come into your life, you shall not be afraid.
do you remember the verse i mentioned on Tuesday?
"Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
when we are drawing near daily, reading the Word and in prayer with the Lord, then when all the crud comes into your life, or the life of someone you know, you will be prepared with the scriptures you need and the wisdom to apply them.
i know the order of things doesn't sound easy. but if God says it, i believe it! if i trust Him first thing, then i won't even have to fear. i hope i remember that with the same confidence in the next valley of trials in my life...
3) thank God
smooshed right in the middle of all that is a little comment that we might miss. "In God, whose word i praise," we often use praise to describe the worship and joyful adoration we give Him. we praise the Lord for answered prayers. we praise Him in song and even sometimes in dance (gasp! lol!). there is often joy when we praise our Maker. but it isn't limited to that. so many of the Psalms speak of praising the Lord, even when the writer is grieved and in sorrow.
so in the midst of our fear, yes, right in the middle, in of the thick of it, just like it's right in the middle of all the talk about fears, we can praise God. we can have joy and happiness because of His Word and the promises there found. or we can adore Him while in mourning. we can thank Him for His love and compassion even in the hard times.
But we do not have to live with these fears. you can pray down your list, asking Him to deal with these fears as He sees fit. you might still have to live with the difficulty. Your family may still be in turmoil or there may still be less money than bills. but my God is bigger than money, and He is closer than a brother and loves me more than even my father or my husband. so to quote the '90's cliche...