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“I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame” (Psalm 34:4-5, New International Version).
What Are You Afraid Of?
When I was first born, my mom told me I was a very sick child. And because I was over a month early, my extended stay in the hospital included needles in my head, dozens of blood transfusions, and puddles of tears. My parents were terrified that I would not make it. But with faith, prayer, and God, I became a walking, breathing miracle child of existence.
As I grew, you would never know I had such a troubling start to my life. I was fearless, brave, and ambitious. And as a five-year-old, I loved to get into everything. From my earliest recognition, the first time I remember fear was when I fell in the driveway and scraped my knee. Mom told me not to run down the gravel path in my swimming shoes, but I thought I knew better. After tears and lots of antiseptic, the fears subsided, and back I went to being a typical child.
The next time I remember fear was my first day of school. I begged my mom to homeschool me, but she gently declined. Year after year, I made this plea, and year after year I was thankful she made me go. My troubles were short-lived, and my anxieties were minimal. I did not understand that these fears were childlike, and fear would be much more difficult to bear.
When I was ten, a threatening voice on the telephone line said they would kill me. At twelve, a grazing hand made me question the opposite sex. At fourteen, my denial to grow up caused unhealthy coping mechanisms. By twenty-one, I had been bitten by those who loved me but continued to leave nasty scars. I started to realize at twenty-three I needed help for my anxiety and depression. Now at twenty-six, I understand my mind is always searching for fear and chaos because that is the environment in which it was primarily raised.
He Will Deliver
No matter how you were raised, what your fears and anxieties look like, or how you deal with unpleasant circumstances, I want to encourage you that in a sea of mess and disorder, there is hope. And though it may feel like the last thing we want to do, when we seek God, He answers and delivers us of all fears.
As an anxious person with lots of mental health issues, I have a lot of fear. And I have had a lot of different fears over the years. I struggle with shame and feeling like a fake Christian questioning her salvation and relationship with God because I either cannot think straight or am overthinking everything. Maybe you can relate to the anxieties of your heart?
Yet this verse reminds, comforts, and affirms to me that when I look to Jesus, when I physically make myself shift my gaze to Him, even full of these issues, my face will shine. And my face will shine not because of anything I have done but because I have been with Him. I will not be cast down in darkness with shame because my fears are not bigger than my God.
Like David, this, too, is my cry:
“This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34:6, New International Version).
Though David’s prayer came from a place of pretending to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left, mine comes from a broken state where I have genuinely felt insane and sick of myself. Again, can you relate?
Though I do indeed face struggles, the struggles and fears I experience will not overpower the fear of my God. Because whether the deliverance comes now or later, I will sing of the Lord:
“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them” (Psalm 34:7, New International Version).
This Is a Promise
That is a promise.
God delivers those who respect, fear, and listen to Him. And while He does not say when or how the deliverance will come, we know we can faithfully trust He who is good and keeps His precious promises. Not a word He says will ever return void.
As Isaiah 55:10-11 of the English Standard Version once prophesied, and we now live, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11, English Standard Version).
Rain, snow, and unprecedented circumstances come our way every single day; that is just life. But even as they come, we can rest assured that what the Lord says will indeed happen, and just as He kept His promises to our ancestors, He keeps those same promises today.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Fear the Lord, you, His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Psalm 34:8-10, New International Version).
And this I know is true:
The Lord will withhold no good thing from us unless it is good for us to wait; jobs, relationships, healing, deliverance, miracles, broken chains, you name it (Psalm 84:11).
No matter where I am still at, I still believe His promises to be good, true, and faithful.
The enemy may try to tell me differently, but I believe His promises over the present predictions.
I will hunger and thirst for Him alone, and I will be satisfied in Him, lacking no good thing.
This Is a Call
Because for a few years now, I have desperately struggled to fear God more than my fears themselves. I have failed to believe His truth over the lies. I have miserably fallen short at learning to love life and live again.
And even though I have often done all the right things: Keeping my tongue from evil and lie, seeking peace, and pursuing it (Psalm 34:11-14), I have often not been great at keeping my eyes on the size of my God rather than the size of my problems, diagnoses, and anxieties.
Lord, help us realign our vision, their vision, my vision. For just as the Lord’s eyes are on those who belong to Him and do His will, I want mine to be focused on Him more than anything as well:
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth” (Psalm 34:15-16).
And you know what? That is such great news and brings comfort to me. Because my God sees my struggles, hears my cries, and knows my needs. And when He meets those who do evil, including Satan, fear, and all the crippling mentalities Satan and his minions throw at me, God says, “Huh, Uh! Not much longer. Don’t you remember I have already defeated you?”
Because I believe when God cuts the memory of them off from the earth, He can also cut them off of mine.
I may not forget the place I have come from here and now, but someday, I will receive a new body, soul, and mind. And the only thing I will know is Jesus Christ and His perfect love for me (Psalm 34:14-16).
Right now, I will be honest in saying I am struggling.
The road I am walking feels so dark.
I often feel alone as my mind eats me alive.
But I must train myself to remember these things:
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:17-18, New International Version).
We are not promised a life without sorrows, hardship, and pain. Those are the realities of living on fallen earth, destroyed by humankind who thought they could make it on their own. But the beautiful news is this:
“A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers Him from them all; He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken” (Psalm 34: 19-20, New International Version).
God delivers us from all our troubles; He does not promise that we will not have any to engage in.
“Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The Lord redeems His servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:21-22, New International Version).
Pray With Me
Jesus, thank you that someday, all wicked things will cease to exist, including my struggles, fears, and grave anxieties. But until that day eternally comes, I can rest assured that you will not only redeem those who find peace in you but we are not condemned for the troubles of our hearts. Amen