I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
Many people live in fear of something dreadful happening to them. For some, the concern is real. We can see dark storm clouds as they approach. We hear alarms sounding indicating something is wrong. At the clap of thunder, everyone feels threatened and runs for cover.
For others, the concern seems insignificant and silly to others. Some are afraid of hypodermic needles. Even the sight of a physician’s white coat raises blood pressure. We can spend much of our energy guessing the opinions others have about us. While significant to the anxious person, others laugh at the situation.
Some fears are common. Most are afraid to speak in public. The fear of heights is common. The fear of death is considered normal. The fear of violence or threat of injury is a growing phenomenon in our society. Everyone is afraid of something.
In David’s life, God promised blessings few would ever know. Yet, his life was constantly bombarded with new fearful threats. Early in his life, he had met natural threats to sheep he was watching by repelling wild animals. Later, he defeats Goliath, a giant enemy that all others feared. His courage and experience committed to defend God, overcame the foe. Now, David is pursued by a jealous king who wishes to destroy him. It seems that David’s life has always been threatened!
But David has found the way to deal with his fears. In every situation, he sought the Lord asking for guidance and protection. In every threat, God gave him a way to escape. Knowing God loves us, frees us from fears of loneliness and helplessness.
Years ago, I met a man in a hospital room the night before he had a cancer surgery. He was diagnosed with the same cancer from which his wife died. Naturally, he felt afraid. But I asked him to tell me about his past experiences with God. He told me of when he began his walk with the Lord. He told me how God protected him through “The War.” He celebrated how God led him to his wife and gave him a daughter. He showed me the photographs of grandchildren. With each chapter, you could see and hear him relax and believe that God was faithful. Recalling the past work of God gave him confidence to face the current fear he felt.
If you feel captured by some fear in your life, change your focus from the problem to the solution. God is ready to be your protector, your guide, and your partner. You do not need to worry. God is with you.
By the way, the man worried about his health lived many more years after that surgery. David survived his ordeal too! Now its your turn to trust and relax. Swap your fears for your faith in God. He is where your focus should be.
Dr. John Temple is chaplain of the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office. From the Shepherd's Heart is published Fridays in The Meridian Star.