This is not something I take lightly. It’s an awesome responsibility to open up the very Word of God and share it with the congregation. My hope is that God can speak through me, but my fear is that I’ll allow pride to seep into the words I speak. Hopefully, I directed people to God, and He alone was glorified.
How Did David Handle Fear?
Fear and worry is a topic better addressed by those with more credentials than I. Yet, God’s word says much about how to deal with fear and worry (what I referred to as emotional 1st cousins). In Psalm 13, we read of David’s fear and anxiety, probably because Saul had tried to kill him several times, and David knew that Saul wouldn’t stop trying.
1 Lord, how long will You forget me? Forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? 2 How long will I store up anxious concerns within me, agony in my mind every day? How long will my enemy dominate me? 3 Consider me and answer, Lord my God. Restore brightness to my eyes; otherwise, I will sleep in death. 4 My enemy will say, “I have triumphed over him,”and my foes will rejoice because I am shaken. 5 But I have trusted in Your faithful love; my heart will rejoice in Your deliverance. 6 I will sing to the Lord because He has treated me generously.
David asked God 4 times, “How long…”. He’s desperate. And, he’s worried. After he expresses his fear is vv. 1-2, David begins to pray. And, finally, in vv. 5-6, David remembers God’s faithful love. He remembers that God is sovereign over his life. The response is to worship…to rejoice and sing because God is his Deliverer.
Peter’s Solution for Fear and Worry
Ed Welch, a Christian counselor and faculty member at Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation, gives helpful insight using 1 Peter 5:6-7.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.
Welch gives four steps to help us when we encounter fear and worry. He says we must 1) pause, 2) consider the greatness of God, 3) be humble (start with confession and repentance) and 4) remember the words of God. He goes on to say that “We can’t cast our cares on him until we have recognized that he is God and we are adopted sons and daughters.” When we acknowledge that he is God, we see his sovereignty and our frailty all at once.
Remember It This Way
As I concluded the sermon, I gave our congregation an acrostic that will, hopefully, help them remember Welch’s counseling. It’s a word that helps us imitate David’s response of worship as well: PRAISE.
P – Pause. Stop what your doing. Get away. Be alone if you can.
R – Remember who God is. God is sovereign. He is over all his creation and created ones. (Isaiah 40)
A – Acknowledge who you are. You are not sovereign over the present or the future.
I – I trust in God. Even in despair, David trusted in God’s faithful love.
S – Search the scriptures that address fear, worry or anxiety (Luke 12; Philippians 4)
E – Enjoy the peace of God. When you trust in God’s plan, fear is replaced by peace.
It is a difficult thing to be worry-free, or without fear. But, I contend that, if we “seek the kingdom” and keep our eyes fully-focused on God, peace will be more prevalent in our lives than fear. C. J. Mahaney states that, “When we submit to fear, we submit to a false god rather than the God of the Scriptures.”
I choose the God of the Scriptures.