First Off…read Psalm 27!
As I read this psalm I cannot help but picture fear. So many times, within the psalms, we get a picture of what the whole psalm is about simply by the first couple of lines…and in this text we are told that darkness and death are fearful…weakness in one’s life by oppression and harm from others: fearful. But how can one have fear when there is the Lord? How can one have fear from darkness when in fact it is the Lord who brings light? How can one fear death when salvation comes from the Lord?
What’s really interesting is when we look at this psalm we see this proclamation of the ability to be strong in the midst of what COULD be fearful BECAUSE the Lord is who He is (vs1)…but then in verse 7 we almost have this shift in mood. No more does the psalmist sound confident. No more do they sound strong – they now sound scared. Dare I say it…they sound…fearful.
Fear is a really interesting thing. To some, facing fear is strengthening and confidence-building. To some, “fear” brings out something they have never known that they have. To many, fear is debilitating and crippling.
So what do you do when you’re struck with fear and your knees have buckled? What do you do when you appear “strong” and courageous but then the reality of the situation smacks you upside the head and the next thing you know you’re curled up in a ball and rocking yourself in the corner (and yes – I’ve been there)? You trust. You trust God for who he is, what he’s said, and what you know is to be true.
The Psalmist knew that there was life beyond their current situation. They knew that they could “dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of” their life (vs 4). They knew that they would gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and find him in his temple (vs 5). That is – they could come to God and be in his presence – and that they, ultimately, would be given shelter.
What’s really difficult is that in the midst of fear “hope” can seem far off. In the midst of darkness “light” can seem like it takes forever to appear. When fear strikes, when darkness sets in, it seems nearly impossible to focus on anything BUT that which is directly before us: fear, abandonment, darkness, chaos, pain, and even suffering.
To the psalmist, coming to this “point” of SEEING the light was a matter of proclaiming what they knew to be true…over and over…and over again. Yes there is this moment in the text where fear appears to creep in but fear doesn’t have the last say…their “confidence” in God does (vs 13). Their strength and knowledge of God pulls them back from the fear that was beginning to creep in. The psalmist borders on falling into despair had it not been for their faith.
Faith is complicated. Faith is easily obtained when things are good and continue to be good. Faith is great when you see it blossom because things are going right – but faith can feel like it cowers when things are tough. Faith can feel like it becomes fleeting when times are dark and lonely.
Faith, well…can feel like it leaves us. But the thing is…that’s not faith. Faith doesn’t work that way.
There are some who feel that it is in those moments of fear that faith is actually being tested… but I’m not sure I agree with this. To me my faith is never tested…I am simply reminded OF my faith when I need to be reminded of it most. Loneliness, fear, and doubt are so strong and work off of what we can see, feel, AND hear…we easily succumb to it and allow it to take over…but the smallest of faith can shatter the deepest of fears. Because where fear holds to nothing and grasps at everything…faith anchors itself in one thing: truth.
I don’t know. Maybe I need to work a little more through where I fall in line with “faith-testing” in the midst of fear. But one thing I do know for sure, when times WERE dark and lonely for me? I sure was thankful that the truth of God was anchored deep within. Because that became the only true thing I knew: God and his love and the truth of the Word that gives it to me.
With that said, if you feel faithless right now…please know I’m here for you. Email me, call me, contact me any way you can. Sometimes just having someone to talk to and hear you and pray for and with you can help push the darkness away and remind us of the light and truth of Jesus Christ. Too many people have lost their lives due to depression and feeling the darkness take over. Every battle is different and unique – but every battle is not to be taken alone.
I have some information down below to help any and everyone. Again – we all need someone to talk to, listen to, and lean into. So use them, me, your pastor, youth pastor, parent, friend, therapist – anyone.
Some Scripture to help:
Some phone numbers of people who are there to listen and help:
- 800-278-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)
- 515-441-2670 (This is my current phone number. Use it if you need it. It’s always on, and I try to always answer)