How do you respond when you’re afraid? Some people speed talk. Others sing in the dark, bolstering their courage by the sound of their voice. You may be the kind that runs – as hard and fast as possible to avoid the unknown, the uncomfortable, the unsure.
Fear comes in many forms. Fear to make decisions, fear to enter into relationships, fear of failure, fear of success. It can be as simple as a fear of snakes, fear of heights, fear of things that go bump in the night.
Some fears are rational and reasonable. Some are not. But the root of all fear can often be sourced to a feeling of being unsafe and unable to trust your surroundings or the people around you.
Either way, you’re afraid. No matter the source of the fear, it doesn’t have to be the driving force of your life. While it’s true that our life experiences create learned responses, how you handle fearful situations is a powerful indicator of how you know God.
What David Teaches Us About Fear
King David was afraid. There was a point when the enemy Philistine armies surrounded him, attacking from all sides. It was a desperate situation, a terrifying life-or-death moment for him and his entire army.
In that fearful moment, David cried out to God. “Be merciful to me, my God, for my enemies are in hot pursuit; all day long they press their attack.” (Psalm 56:1 NIV)
And then he adds something that reveals his relationship with God: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)
In that desperate moment, King David went to God and acknowledged his fear as well as his faith. He named the source of his anxiety: physical enemies, foes attacking, slanderers bringing him down to the dust. It was real. It was visceral.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
David knew his God. He knew he could be vulnerable and nakedly real with Him. I’m afraid. I’m scared.
And then he tamped down his fear with trust. This psalm is set to the tune of “A Dove on Distant Oaks.” In other words, David was singing in the dark, singing at the fear.
I trust you. I trust your word to me. I will not be afraid!
King David uses truth to battle fear, recounting all the good things God has done for him: You keep track of my sorrows. You collect all my tears in your bottle. You are on my side. You help me.
If you’re struggling with fear, go to God. Bring the reality of what you are going through to Him. Call out – and then start singing the truth of God’s word. God cares. He can rescue. He can save you from whatever enemy has risen against you.
“…in God I trust and am not afraid…For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” (Psalm 56:11, 13)