Psalm 56:3-4 (11) “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?”
Fear is so common among people that it might be said with a reasonable sense of confidence that fear is ubiquitous and universal. There are all sorts of fears and reasons to be afraid. And sadly (and sometimes tragically) we do all kinds of wrong things because of fear.
The psalmist was no “stick the head in the sand” kind of guy; he understood the fearful situation in which he stood. In this chapter he speaks of enemies attacking him and speaking evil of him. In fact, he was very much afraid of them. But there was something else inside of this psalmist – determined faith to counter fear! “When I am afraid, I WILL put my trust in You.” Note the strong and determined faith seen in these words. He is intent on activating his faith and focusing his faith in God to fight against fear.
Fear comes in different packages; it is what we do with our fear that is important. We must not yield to our fears; we must not cave in to the “what ifs” of life. We must do as the psalmist did; we must trust God’s Word and promise. God has spoken His promise to His covenant people; He gives to us His providential assurance that we are under His wings of care. We are prone to forget this when we get scared. God is never absent and His word and promise never fail, even when terrible things threaten us. It is then, at the worst, when faith must rise, point to God, and say, “The Lord has promised; I will trust Him!”
Note that the psalmist does not tell us that we can control fear when fear comes, and we do not determine how it comes; it just COMES! The text says, “When I am afraid.” We all experience fear, and fear comes to us in different ways. What is important is what we DO when fear comes. Again, the text helps us when it says, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You…In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid.” There is movement and maturation here in the text. The psalmist begins by fighting against fear with trusting in God, then there is a settled condition whereby he lives trusting in God to fight against future fear. This is the key! Grab hold of your “shield of faith” (Ephesians 6:16) and go to battle; keep your faith ready against attack. Remember that the Bible says, “The righteous shall live by faith (Romans 1:17).”
Christian friend, do not be surprised when your faith is tested and tried; this is normal in battle! Rather, seek to implement your faith, use your faith, and attack your fear with your faith! May the Lord grant to you His mercy, as you seek to walk with Him in faith. All is well!
Prayer: Dear Lord, I am so prone to fear! Sometimes it comes on me in such a way as to almost immobilize me. I pray this day for grace to exercise faith in Your love, Your kindness, Your strength, and Your help; I pray that I will look to You in faith, trusting only in Your gracious provision. Please grant to me the ability to fight off fear with faith. Amen.