Pastor Larry Sundin, Rock Springs Church
Many things frighten us today. It’s funny that the things that scare us are much the same as what has frightened people through the ages. We fear change and uncertainty. We fear rejection or being alone. We’re afraid of something bad happening to us and we’re afraid of losing our freedoms. On the lighter side, most of us fear public speaking or going to the dentist. And many of us have a fear of heights, snakes, and even dogs. I for one had a fear of dogs for years, all going back to when I was 5 years old when my mother called me home for lunch. No sooner had I started running home, when out of nowhere came this German Shepherd who thought he’d have a bite of lunch at the expense of my ankle. That attack put a fear of dogs in me that lasted for years. Even to this day, I still avoid being around big dogs.
But what about you? What do you do when something or someone awakens fear in you? Do you ignore it? Do you run from it? Or do you face it and work your way through it? What do you do with your fears? That’s one question God’s people have faced through the centuries. Some have had to deal with the fear of war. Some have had to deal with the fear of suffering or seeing their way of life fall apart. And all have had to deal with the fear of being alone and even the fear of dying. But the good news is that for those who seek God and find refuge in Him, He has a way of giving you courage and confidence in the face of your fears.
That’s one of the blessings we’ve learned during our “Summer in the Psalms.” In particular, that’s one of the blessings we’ve discovered from Psalm 46. In verses 1-3 of this Psalm, the psalmist writes: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way, and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. The image the writer shares here is of our whole world coming undone. After all, in using the metaphor of “mountains falling into the sea,” the writer is describing a worst-case scenario. For ancient Israel, mountains were an image of strength and stability. So, if your “mountain” falls into the sea, whatever you’re trusting for strength and security in this world is gone. It’s what happens when we lose a loved one or get a devastating diagnosis—or when we fail, experience rejection, or when something bad happens to us.
But the good news is this: if you allow God to be your fortress, you don’t have to fall apart when your world falls apart. You can go to God and find refuge, strength, and help to face your fears. For He’s not just a help in times of trouble; He’s the Lord God Almighty, who promises to be with you no matter what befalls you. And that’s just one truth we’ve learned about Him in our summer of Psalms. He’s not just a fortress from the storms of life, but an all-powerful God who promises to be with you no matter what fear you may face. So, fear not. God is great. And if you let Him, He will be your refuge, your strength, and a very present help whenever your world comes undone.