Face the Fear and Uncertainty of Life’s Troubles and Puzzles
- July 16, 2019
- Jared Odenbeck
What are you afraid of? The best way to discover your fears is to examine your worries. Many biblical characters faced fears, and, yet, they faced them with great courage. Where does this courage come from, and what kept them secure in their trust and gave them assurance in their object of trust?
I want to first look to David for an answer, and then to draw upon a recent experience of mine. Regarding the content of Psalm 31, commentator David Guzik says, “We have no definite marking place in David’s life for this Psalm because he was so often in trouble.” But, we know he was in trouble. Whether he fled from Saul or hid himself from enemies, he faced grave danger.
“In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me” (Psalm 31:1). Amidst great affliction, David cries out to the LORD. He is surrounded on every side. He is without hope in his own strength and sees no future but “shame” from his own circumstances. From here does he cry, “In you, O LORD, do I take refuge.” A refuge, when there is none, and no place to hide. A refuge, as a hiding place to dwell safe and secure from enemies, from death, from fears, and from the grip of the world and its many powers.
And what does the blessedness of refuge in the midst of trouble feel like? It is like discovering a shelter in the grips of a heavy rainstorm – protected, safe, secure, and out of the storm – yet still in the storm. Note, David is not whisked away. He is still in trouble, but something has happened to him.
Have you ever gone for a long bike ride? Perhaps across multiple hours, in heavy winds, and on uneven and unstable terrain? It is not easy. It is grueling. And, often, life is like this. It wears you down. Or, it suddenly comes upon you like a massive gust of wind as you round a cape. It hinders, slows, and negates your progress. It breaks your resolve.
But, riding behind someone negates much of the wind. It makes the ride much less arduous, you don’t have the bear the weight of it, you can enjoy the ride. The one in front takes the brute of the wind. You trust them to work to allow you to rest. Note, you still must pedal. The wind still whistles. The terrain still quakes and shifts and jolts. But, there is a newfound breath of rest that fills the lungs. There is a pleasantness discovered.
And this is what the LORD has done for us. He has gone before us, he bore the weight of what we could not face or overcome. He goes before us. So, the fear of “I may not make it” melts away, because he has already gone the distance for you. The worry of “what will happen” fades, because you know that he has assured you a future inheritance with himself, and he will work all things according to his good pleasure, for your good, and for his glory. There is assurance and security. And this is what David discovered..
“For you are my rock and my fortress.” That is his conclusion. Not just any rock or any fortress, but “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Very present, very near, very proximal to come to his saints. And this is where David draws up courage and gathers his strength from. The LORD will hold and keep him. “My times are in your hand” (Psalm 31:15). His comfort is in the LORD’s providence and sovereignty. His trust is in the LORD’s infinite wisdom. His security comes from the LORD’s certain love for him.
So, no matter where I find myself, no matter how high the waters rise, no matter how darkened the skies grow, no matter how hopeless I may feel, no matter how improbable my situation, “you are my rock and my fortress.”