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Graphics by Martha G. Brady

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So far, we have talked about anxiety briefly the first week. Last week, we talked about finding courage in the middle of anxiety because of God’s promise to be with us. Today we are talking about when we are afraid, learning to trust in God who is larger than any problem we will ever face. Our example is from the life of David.

David knew something about anxiety. He learned to trust in God when he was afraid. He took graduate courses in fear when individuals and groups were trying to kill him. He described God as a rock.

This week, God talks about those times of being afraid through the mouth of David who understood fear a lot. He had many enemies who wanted him dead. One of the main ones trying to kill David, was King Saul. More than once, David had Saul cornered and could have killed¬†him, but David honored the fact that King Saul was the one who was the anointed King of Israel. David was not going to kill Saul even though David was now the anointed King. One of those times is found in 1 Samuel 23:24-24:22. David knew that when it was God’s time for him to be King, it would be clear. The day came when it was time and David ruled for many years.

Meanwhile, David had plenty of times when he was afraid. But he knew he could call on God for help because he could trust God. God would never fail him. Knowing who we can trust is very important. It is doubly so when we are afraid. How often do we read in the Psalms (many written by David) descriptions of God as a Rock. I’m talking about the kind that are the size of mountains! They are unmoveable. Here are only 2 examples from Psalms of David.

As a Rock, He is both stable, unmovable and a refuge.

His stability, unmovability, and refuge is mentioned in Psalm 18. It is a protection from our enemies.

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

Psalm 18:1-3 ESV

His fortress and refuge ability is mentioned here. When we are afraid, we can hide in His refuge and feel safe. and know we are safe.

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

Psalm 28:1-3 ESV

How do you trust in God? Especially if you are feeling anxious or afraid?

The short answer is, you pray or talk to God. As a child of God, you can speak to him in any position and at any time. Actually, anyone can. God will hear you. But as a child of God, you can count on it. As someone who is not a child of God, He will hear you, but you can’t count on His acting on your requests.

I mentioned earlier (week 1) that stopping to take some slow deep breaths can help as you collect yourself and ask God for help you face the challenge that has come into your life. There are actual physiological changes that happen in your body when you do this that calm it down and change the body’s response to anxiety.

When you are afraid, trust in God. He is the only one big enough to help you. He is the only one stable enough to help.

It may be a short term challenge or a long term one. Either way, it will help to remember you are bringing it to God who is a Rock like no other. He will be able to help you as you learn to find a way to deal with it over time. As far as those short term challenges when you are afraid, you can call on God to help you and protect you from danger when you are afraid.

There is an aspect of faith to it as well. Believing what you read and know about God and taking it another step forward beyond simply mental assent. It is more than knowing a bunch of facts about Him. It is coming to believe, even as a Christian, that He is in control of your life; He is able to help you when life gets to be too much for you because He is bigger than any problems that comes along. In fact, that what He says about Himself in many of these promises, is actually true. He is the God of the Universe, yet He also cares for you as an  individual as well. It seems impossible to imagine, yet it is true.

ChangePoint

  • Read about one of the incidents when Saul was chasing David here. There are more mentioned in David’s life. Saul seems to repent of his ways, but he doesn’t change at all. What do you learn about how David lives in the middle of all this stress? Do you see how faith and prayer work together in his life? Jot down what you learn. What do you learn from some of David’s Psalms in this regard?
  • As you think about Psalm 56:3-4,8-11 where the main Bible verse is taken from as well as the other 2 Psalms about God being our rock in times of trouble, what are you learning about prayer, faith, and how God helps us in times of anxiety and fear? Jot down what you are learning?
  • Have you had a chance to test out any of your anxieties in small steps, instead of avoiding them? Are you finding ways to get help doing it? Are you able to find a way to incorporate prayer and faith so it helps you move ahead with courage? Jot down what is helping you. Jot down what you are finding difficult. Keep praying for God to open your eyes to solutions in the areas where you struggle. Are there people you can ask for help?
  • It may be that stepping out in faith could be memorizing a promise that God has given about Himself and fear, such as today’s promise. It may be there is another one. Then trusting God that it is true and believing it when fear hits you. I promise there are no formulas, but pray and ask God what He is guiding you to do. He will make it clear.

 

 

FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY: AFRAID…