Provocative Devotion: Psalm 34:1-7 “Facing Your Fears”

I have a friend from Australia who recently made the comment that from a distance America looks like a country driven by fear. It was hard to argue with him. Parents live in fear of what might happen to their children when they are out of their sight so 8 and 9 year olds have cellphones so their parents can be in touch with them 24/7. Movie theaters now have metal detectors. Anti-anxiety drugs are dispensed like Tic-Tacs. Even Christians are not immune. Anytime I talk to people about doing a short-term mission trip to another country the first question asked is always, “Is it safe there?’ This Psalm reminds us that the world is not safe but we have a God who watches out for His own.

34 I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Just how does the Lord delivers us from all our fears? It is not by eliminating the situation but by making His presence known in the situation. Jesus reminds the disciples, just before He ascends to heaven, that He would be with them always, even to the end of the age. Time and again in Scripture the Lord says, “fear not, for I am with you”. What is the scariest part of a scary movie? When someone is alone. We know that being alone is a bad thing.

There is such courage that we gain when there is someone else with us. Situations could be life and death and when they are faced alone they are far more terrifying than when faced with another person. Sometimes the comfort we take makes no logical sense but it is comfort none the less. When I was a child I remember walking across a bridge where the walkway was not solid concrete but a metal grate so that you could see the ground far below. I was scared to death, until I asked my father hold my hand. Suddenly, just by him answering my request and taking my hand, all fear was gone. On a logical, scientific level that made no sense. If the bridge or even just the walkway collapsed, my dad would be as helpless as I would be. But that did not factor into the equation. What mattered was I was not alone. My father was there.

God our Father promises to be with us and deliver us from our fears. He does it by taking our hand and walking with us through fire and flood, storm and strife. It is a promise about which we must constantly remind ourselves. yes the world is a scary place. But our God is greater and He delivers those who call upon Him.

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