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.
What can mortal man do to me?
This is an extremely important little passage for living a happy, successful life. We have to face the fact that there are things that make us afraid. Fear is a natural response. The capacity for it is given to us by God, not only to fear Him but also to keep us out of danger. However, misapplied, fear can paralyze us and steal all our joy and initiative. Here David expresses the key: trusting God. It has been well said that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather moving forward in spite of fear. Trusting God is ultimately a choice. He has given us countless reasons to trust Him, but we still have to go ahead and do it. These days, with international terrorists, burgeoning national debt, politicians whose sanity seems in doubt, and more and more, there is no end of fodder for fear, and that doesn’t even start in on more personal issues like health. David here says, “What can man do to me?” but it could equally be expressed, “What can life or the world do to me?” When we have eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord, nothing that could happen to us on this earth is of lasting consequence, even death. We mourn “a life cut short,” but if that person is in Christ it’s no big deal for them, though the grief of those left behind is very real. Countless hymns have been written on the theme of trusting God, and rightly so. We need all the help we can get to make the consistent choice to trust God, because it’s not just a done-once-and it’s-over thing. However, it does get easier with practice!
I’ve certainly been given plenty of reason and plenty of practice in trusting God, but I still have to make the deliberate choice to do so, often daily. I am as human as anyone else, but as a pastor I grieve for people who struggle with the choice to trust. Fear can make a horrible mess of things! I know from painful experience that my words alone cannot impart trust, but they can be useful to the Holy Spirit in doing so. Life is a journey, as many have said. Trusting God gives us the signposts we need, but fear makes us blind to them. As long as our eyes are on ourselves and our circumstances, we won’t see those signposts. When our hearts are lifted to God, they become very clear.
Father, this is an issue that is a major part of my ministry because it’s a major part of life. Help me not only choose to trust You myself, but also encourage and assist others in doing so as well. May we indeed submit to You and resist the devil, (James 4:7) allowing You to destroy his strongholds in our hearts, (1 John 3:8) so that we may walk in the peace and joy that You intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!