Psalm 56:3-4 “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose Word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.”
Tsunamis, earthquakes, wars, terrorist attacks, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, illnesses, deaths. Daily we are bombarded with news of such events, and whether these events are on the other side of the world or in our own homes, it’s easy to succumb to fear if we aren’t trusting in God. I used to think that if I just tried to push the fearful thoughts out of my mind I was trusting God, but it didn’t eliminate the circumstances or the fear of them. And often my imagination amplified my fears. When I was a child, I imagined there were monsters under the bed. I would make sure I was in the very middle of my bed, not on the edge, so nothing could reach me. And if I absolutely had to get out of bed in the middle of the night, I would stand on my bed, jump as far away from it as possible and then run out of my room. I went to a lot of effort to avoid what I feared, but If I had only shined a light under the bed, I could have eliminated the fear. It’s not avoiding the fearful thoughts but shining the light of God’s Word on our circumstances that can help dispel fear. His Word reveals His character and promises upon which we can place our confidence and trust. Psalm 9:10 says that “Those who know your name will trust in you…” Strong’s Bible dictionary says that the word “name” used here implies ones honor, authority and character. In order to know God’s name and trust in Him, we have to know His Word.
With the knowledge of God’s Word, we can have a new view of our circumstances. It’s as if while we are looking at the map of the things that cause us to fear, we put down a new overlay map of God’s character and promises. We can still see our circumstances, but now we see them with God’s boundaries over top. But how can we create a new map if we don’t know the territory? It’s interesting that a Christianity Today article quoted a recent study which said that Christians reported a higher stress level than non-Christians. Those that conducted the survey were surprised because they had expected the opposite. But another recent study reported that only 1/3 of those who claim to be Christians read their Bibles. That most likely means the majority of Christians don’t have God’s overlay map on their circumstances to reduce their fear and stress. I also think that if you say you believe in God and Jesus but don’t study the Bible, you would be more fearful and stressed than a non-Christian. It would be hard to reconcile what’s happening around you with a God that is supposed to be in control and love His people. You wouldn’t know that He has overcome the world (John 16:33). You wouldn’t know that He works all things together for good (Romans 8:28). And you wouldn’t know that He has never forsaken those who seek Him (Psalm 9:10). The Bible is full of God’s promises and is one of His gifts to help keep our minds and hearts at peace. So if our Bibles are falling apart, our nerves probably won’t be. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
Which fearful circumstances do you need to look at through the overlay of God’s promises and character?
How has seeking God relieved your fears?