Our church is doing a Lenten series based on the Psalms. I was invited to write a few Lenten devotionals for our church website. In case you are looking for something devotional, I offer this:

Fear is a huge motivator that affects our behavior and emotions. In our community group curriculum we read, “Fear is also at the root of our self-protection mechanisms (defensiveness, contempt, criticism, shame, stonewalling, etc.). As eroding as these things are, the worst thing about fear is that it keeps us from love. . .”

In thinking about “Fear” today, I want to take a look at Psalm 3. In the NIV we read, “O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” (v.1-2)

I often get a kick out of how Eugene Peterson paraphrases scripture in The Message, “God! Look! Enemies past counting! Enemies sprouting like mushrooms, mobs of them all around me, roaring their mockery: “Hah! No help for him from God!” (v.1-2)

There are different kinds of fear that affect all of us. At times, we, too, may feel surrounded by insurmountable fears! Some might include going to the dentist, being rejected by a close friend, not doing well on a test, not living up to expectations of your boss, etc. Some fear we anticipate, like the test or dentist appointment. Other fears can come upon us when we least anticipate it.

Last year, after twenty-nine years of employment, I was laid-off. I can’t say it was totally unexpected, but I was still surprised. For months afterwards, I experienced a new kind of fear. It’s one that I’ve not experienced before: fear of what might happen in the future, specifically, financial failure.

This is not a fear that I think about during my waking hours. God is providing in marvelous ways! Instead, this is a fear that can haunt me at night. It wakes me up with crazy thoughts!!

Pastor Matt said the first thing we need to do when we are afraid is to face our fear. I find that when I’m awakened in the middle of the night, the best thing I can do is get-up to journal, read the Bible, and cry-out to God, as David did. I find spending time in these activities to be so much better than wrestling in bed, trying to sleep, with crazy thoughts spinning in my mind.

Fear of what we’re facing can sometimes cause us to doubt that God is really present in our situation. At the Mt. Helix Community Group this week, we had an ice-breaker activity of writing acronyms for the word, DOUBT. I want to share two from our group. Here’s the first one:
D – Disbelief
O – Often
U – Unwittingly
B – Brews

I like this one because when I don’t face my fear, I do feel tormented! In addition to the activities named above that help, I’m a part of a great small group of guys with whom I can share anything. Having this kind of support is invaluable in so many ways!

The second acronym is this:
D – Devoting
O – Ourselves
U – Until
B – Belief
T – Transpires

Sometimes, in spite of what we are feeling, we need to move forward in our faith walk. This may even mean leaning on others to help us trust God in facing our fears. Moving forward can help us find a better place to be with God, to see and experience God’s blessings.

In verses 4 – 5, David writes, “To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.”

In his crying aloud to God, a wonderful transformation takes place! Peace comes to David so that he can sleep. The next day he awakes and feels the Lord’s strength and power to sustain him.

How do you experience God in the midst of your worst fear? How do you find strength and help from God? What’s your story?

Jeff Glass