Facing Fear

Be merciful to me, my God,
    for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
    all day long they press their attack.
My adversaries pursue me all day long;
    in their pride many are attacking me.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

All day long they twist my words;
    all their schemes are for my ruin.
They conspire, they lurk,
    they watch my steps,
    hoping to take my life.
Because of their wickedness do not let them escape;
    in your anger, God, bring the nations down.

Record my misery;
    list my tears on your scroll—
    are they not in your record?
Then my enemies will turn back
    when I call for help.
    By this I will know that God is for me.

10 In God, whose word I praise,
    in the Lord, whose word I praise—
11 in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can man do to me?

12 I am under vows to you, my God;
    I will present my thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered me from death
    and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life. Psalm 56

Life rarely feels easy. We often feel hit from every side, discouraged, broken, and weak. Maybe we feel like we’re supposed to be put-together, so we don’t admit our fear or suffering to others. Maybe we even think God wants us to be strong, so we don’t talk to Him about our struggles either. 

David’s life is definitely not easy when he composes this Psalm. Running from one army only to be captured by another, David can not find peace from his enemies. He wants to be safe, but he is afraid. David is oppressed, slandered, and attacked, and David makes this all known to God. He does not numb himself to his circumstances. He acknowledges the reality of his condition. He acknowledges his fear. 

In the same way, we see that God acknowledges David’s pain. He does not tell David to just trust Him and get over it. He does not jump to fixing David. Instead, God recognizes all of David’s hardships and struggles- everything he has gone through. The Psalm says God counts each of David’s tears, catching them in a bottle. God sees and empathizes with David’s pain. 

After David acknowledges the reality of his circumstances and feels understood by God, he asserts his trust in God. David declares, “This I know, that God is for me…What can man do to me?” God has said He is for David, and God will never go back on these words. God’s words are binding. 

In hard circumstances, we do not need to numb or hide our fear and pain. We serve a God who empathizes with us! The more we accept our fear, the more desperate we are for God’s help. If we do not acknowledge our struggle, God’s promises will not mean as much to us. 

Once we acknowledge our struggle, we can find comfort in God’s word, which says that in all circumstances, God is for us, not against us. Man can do nothing to us because God is greater and more powerful. God does not always save his people from physical suffering, but for those who trust in Him, he always saves them from spiritual death. Our eternal life can never be taken away.  Because God is faithful, eternally devoted to His people, nothing can separate them from His love. This promise speaks comfort into our fear. 

God, there are circumstances in my life that are out of my control. I bring my fears and my feelings to you, knowing that you are a God who can sympathise with my weaknesses and my suffering. I put my trust in you and your promises. You say that You are for me, and you will work all things for good. I will continue to walk with you, knowing you are faithful to your word. Amen.

Confront the struggle in your life. How does it make you feel? What are you afraid of happening? Bring this all to God, remembering that He empathizes with you. 


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