Daily Devotional - 10 August 2020
“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces” (Psalm 34:4-5).
The above verses were written by David during a time that fear could have absolutely consumed him–his life was in double-jeopardy. He had been brought before King Achish (1 Samuel 21) a Philistine king who knew David’s reputation and his history–here was the giant killer! David was in the process of attempting to escape from King Saul, but when he got to the city of Gath he was recognized by the leaders who were unhappy he was there, “Isn’t this David, who they sing about having killed 10,000s?” They brought him to their king; I highly doubt they asked David if he wanted to go. Were they going to kill him? Imprison him? He didn’t know, but he kept his wits about him and was granted release when he convincingly played the part of a crazy man–scratching on doors and allowing his own drool to run down his beard. Desperate times call for desperate measures! In his moment of fear and desperation, David tells us in Psalm 34 that he had asked God to rescue him and He had.
We may not fear for our lives, but our society seems permeated with fear nonetheless. We’ve put our trust in things that cannot ‘save’ us and are left attempting to grapple with constant fear–fear of change, of the unknown, of the future, of others’ opinions. And as fear takes hold, it drains us of courage and hope, replacing these life giving attitudes with anxiety and depression. Take a look around you. Anxiety and depression have quite literally put a choke hold on our North American society–a continent that has more to be thankful for than almost any other segment of our global population. As we have allowed fear and the resulting anxiety and depression to take hold, we have begun withdrawing from others, viewing them as contributors to the problem, rather than recognizing fear as the catalyst for our pervasive anxiety.
Unfortunately, in our state of fear we often panic and do not recognize true lifelines. We perpetuate our fear by attempting to safeguard ourselves; but nothing outside of God will ever help us out of our predicaments of fear–not money, not occupations, not connections. Haven’t we witnessed how a very small thing can set our entire planet into a complete tizzy? We lose our heads or jump into full-fledged denial–neither approach is helpful; both are systemic of the fear that we have. We are not in control.
When we turn to God in our desperation as David did, we are reminded, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). God’s Holy Spirit provides those who trust God with courage, compassion and self-control. In these days of uncertainty, as we continue to wrestle with the effects of COVID-19–attempting to control its spread while also attempting to alleviate the potential economic difficulties looming in our near future–we are in dire need of people who rely on God’s Spirit to overcome the fear that is threatening to sink us. It isn’t COVID-19 that will cause the greatest disaster at this time–it is our reactions to it. If we respond in fear, we have already lost; if we rely on God to help us act courageously, extend compassion and use self-control, we will be able to say with David, “I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!