Faith in the Face of Fear

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Cry Aloud – Take Courage Psalm 27
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1-2

Ever since our fall into sin, our lives are plagued with fear. One of the greatest barriers to dealing with our fears is not expressing them – worse, not even acknowledging them before God, or ourselves.

“Hear O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!” Psalm 27:7 Take some quiet time to tell your fears to God. Say them out loud. “Father, I am afraid of…”
Now receive God’s Hoy Word in Psalm 27. Receive power and strength from the Rock of your Salvation. Meditate on His Word quietly and slowly. “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14

Faith in the Face of Fear Psalm 43
Have you ever been fearful? Sure you have and so have I. Fear is part of the human condition. As Christians we don’t need to feel that we fail God when we fear. But, we are harmed when fear consumes and paralyzes us. When we drop into that vortex, spinning ever downward into hopelessness and dread. That’s not a place where God wants us to go.
The Psalmists experienced fear quite a bit. Browse through the Psalms and you’ll find plenty of examples where he was in a desperate situation and not knowing how he would get out.
Look for example at Psalm 43. The writer fears the actions of an ungodly nation against him. He prays that God would rescue him from deceitful and wicked men. Notice what else he does, though. He acknowledges and reminds God that He is his stronghold. He petitions the Lord for strength for himself. He envisions what he will do when God responds. Finally he encourages himself in the Lord saying, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

In his fear the writer reminds himself what he has already learned: The Lord is his Savior. He will rescue him. We, too, can put our trust in our faithful God.

Afraid of What? Psalm 2
“Why do the nations gather together? Why do their people devise useless plots? Kings take their stands. Rulers make plans together against the Lord and against his Messiah by saying, ‘Let’s break apart their chains and shake off their ropes.’” Psalm 2:1–3 (GW)

Current events have put us all on guard. The news keeps highlighting new things to fear. We see other nations scoffing God. Closer to home people shake off God’s authority and declare freedom from God a victory.

These fears wake you up at night. Your subconscious breaks into a cold sweat thinking through possibilities. The angst of your present looks like the road to destruction, a future that cannot be altered.

The psalmist gives us a tap on the shoulder. We turn our heads and look to God. “Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing.” Psalm 2:4 (MSG) 

All their strutting and all our fears are pointless in the truth of who God is and who we are as His child. God laughs at the absurdity. Like a parent calming a child from a nightmare, “Don’t you know there’s a King in Zion? A coronation banquet is spread for him on the holy summit.” Psalm 2:6 (MSG)

God is the one with the plan. His King Jesus reigns! Follow the trail of your “What if” fears, put Jesus at the end of that trail and let go. King Jesus doesn’t demand obedience in exchange for chasing away your bogey man. King Jesus promises to resolve all things with you included in the Kingdom.

“What joy for all who take refuge in him!” Psalm 2:12 (NLT)

Fear No Evil Psalm 23
You’ve noticed that all of our fears, in the Psalms, are opportunities to build our confidence on God. Psalm 23 is probably the most famous of all the confidence Psalms. Take a close look at this gem and walk through the path of fears.

“The Lord is my shepherd. I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. He renews my soul. He guides me along the paths of righteousness for the sake of his name.” Psalm 23:1-3 (GW)

Review God’s record of care. Our Shepherd not only provides essential needs, but comfort and rest from the hardships of life. We know this Shepherd ultimately gave His life for the sheep.

“Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and your staff give me courage. You prepare a banquet for me while my enemies watch. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows.” Psalm 23:4-5 (GW)
Yes, the path journeys through places where darkness is real. Death is real. We have enemies. Darkness cloaks our path, but God is there, too. He sets a table and honors you with His presence in the face of all other threats. He brings healing and joy even in the dark places.
“Certainly, goodness and mercy will stay close to me all the days of my life, and I will remain in the Lord’s house for days without end.” Psalm 23:6 (GW)
The future of the closing verse is filled with confidence for the current dark valley! Make this verse your mantra.

Sketching Fear Psalm 27

So many images are packed into these short fourteen verses! It’s like a nightmare that jumps from image to image. To really put yourself into the psalmist’s shoes, fold a piece of paper in half. On one-half, sketch the images of God’s protection. On the other half, sketch the images of attack. If you like, connect a line between the images of an attack and God’s protection.

Read the psalm one last time, looking for a verse to memorize. Let the Holy Spirit guide you. The “right” verse will be one that points to God’s work in your past, and points you to trusting in his present protection. Write it down somewhere where you will see it often.

If you want to go a little further, sketch 3-4 images for times you’ve felt stuck under the weight of fear in your past. Then, sketch images for ways that God provided comfort or protection. Or, if you prefer to use words, write your own verse 6 Psalm describing those moments.

“Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices 
with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.”
Psalm 27:6 (NLT)