Psalm 56:3-4

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?

There’s no need for shame in fear. In a fallen and broken world fear, when healthy, is a needed protection. It cues us into the actual dangers in our lives and reminds us that we are not bulletproof. It reminds us of our desperate need for God and sheds light on the wonder of His mercy and grace toward us. However, fear isn’t meant to control us and shouldn’t be the sole voice determining what we do. No doubt fear is persuasive, but we follow a greater voice in our lives: the voice of love.

Fear will be leveraged by our enemy to tempt us to doubt God’s love. He will whisper to us that our suffering and pain are evidences of God’s lack of love for us. That there are things more powerful than His love for us. This is why what the psalmist does in the face of fear is so pivotal and powerful.

When I am afraid…

Again, this is assumed in life. We are all going to be afraid from time to time. Whether it’s a creepy sound in the dead of night or the spider dangling mischievously from the kitchen ceiling, we will feel afraid. In fact, it’s helpful to remember that nearly every time a person meets with God or an angel in Scripture, they both feel the need to start by saying, “Do not be afraid.” Fear is assumed. So, the question is what do we do when the feeling of fear falls on us like a weighted blanket?

I put my trust in you…

Will we let fear drive us to trust the Lord? Will we let the first symptoms of fear lift our eyes from our circumstances to faith? This is what the psalmist does. Fear comes and he looks to the Lord. He doesn’t place his hope in things getting better or being able to figure it out. Fear comes and he turns to His heavenly Father and says, “You got this right?” So how is the psalmist able to so quickly pivot to God?

In God, whose word I praise…

He knows God’s word and because he knows God’s word, he also knows God’s character and promises intimately. He is prepared to pivot toward the Lord because he has practiced feeding his soul on the bread of life and steering his life by the light of God’s word. He has practiced in peaceful times what will stabilize his soul in perilous times. He knows the voice of his God which leads him on the path of life and peace.

This is fears proper purpose. Satan uses our feelings of fear to convince us we must take control and God cannot be trusted. God uses fear to remind us of our design. We were made for Him and to depend on Him. We were not made to control, but rather to be controlled by His love for us. The fear in our lives, when placed in God’s hands, will lead us to deeper security and comfort. The fear will turn our face to our Father, and we will find that He is greater than whatever is causing our fear.

For you have delivered my soul from death,
    yes, my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life.

Psalm 56:13


Author Andrew Dealy, LPC

Andrew is the Executive Director of the Austin Stone Counseling Center. His passion is to display the glory of God in the darkest moments and places of peoples’ lives and to help them see that the Lord’s ability to save, heal, restore, and redeem is not hindered by the severity of our circumstances or weaknesses. The Lord is always able, even when we feel like we are not.

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