Faith to conquer fear

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

Steven J. Pagels

The community where I serve puts on an annual haunted house, and even though I have never been to it I get the impression that it is a pretty big deal. Last year, for four consecutive weekends in October leading up to and including Halloween, visitors could buy tickets to the “Dark Carnival” and walk through a winding maze with creepy clowns lurking around every corner.

I was unwilling to pay the $15 cost of admission to be frightened out of my wits. I probably wouldn’t go to a haunted house even if someone else paid me to do it. As much as some people enjoy the thrill of being scared, that isn’t my idea of entertainment. Besides, there are plenty of other reasons, legitimate reasons, for people to be afraid.

WHAT MAKES US AFRAID

King David understood the meaning of fear. He was a powerful ruler, but he also had powerful enemies. In Psalm chapter 27 he identified them as “wicked” men who were advancing to attack him, as “false witnesses” who were “spouting malicious accusations” against him. Because Israel was surrounded by hostile nations, they were under the constant threat of enemy invasion. And because David was Israel’s leader, he was their number one target.

If Israel’s enemies weren’t enough to keep David awake at night, he also had to deal with the threats that came from the members of his own family. His son Absalom rebelled against him. David was forced to leave Jerusalem. He was forced to flee for his life, and when he looked over his shoulder he would have had good reason to be afraid.

How about you? What keeps you up at night? What are some of the challenges you face that make you afraid? Will I get into the right school? Will I be able to find a good job? Will I ever find a spouse, or will I always be alone? Will the treatment I am receiving work, and what if it doesn’t? Will I have enough money to retire? Will I outlive my money after I retire?

WHAT MAKES US UNAFRAID

Instead of letting yourself be overwhelmed by your fears, listen to David, who expressed his trust in God with two rhetorical questions of his own: “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?”

You don’t have to be afraid of the dark because the Lord is your light. His Word is a light for your path. God lives in unapproachable light, and you can look forward to the day when you will bask in the glow of his glory.

You don’t have to be afraid of death because the Lord is your salvation. Jesus has rescued you from your sins. He lived a perfect life in your place. He sacrificed his life on the cross, and because he did you will live forever in heaven.

You don’t have to be afraid of anyone or anything because the Lord is your stronghold. He will protect you from your enemies. He will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life. And he will provide you with everything you need to live your life, including the faith to trust in him, to follow him, and to conquer your fears.

Contributing editor Steven Pagels is pastor at St. Matthew’s, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

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Author: Steven J. Pagels
Volume 102, Number 10
Issue: October 2015

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