Fear is an enemy…except when running from a bear, and even then, its dominance might lead to a wrong decision!! It is amazing that the Bible speaks so much on the matter of fear, and especially in the form of a commandment of God: “Be not afraid….,” or “Fear not.” Why is it such an enemy, and why is it so often dealt with in Scripture? I believe that the primary reason is that it is the antithesis of faith. The faith-filled man or woman is not the fearful man or woman. When one begins to analyze the essence and cause of fear, it has its roots in our frailty, limitations, and concern to live. But what happens when we grasp the ability of God to keep and to provide, not only for this life, but for eternity?
I knew a missionary once who spoke at the Bible Institute where I attended. Her name was Virginia Fridal. She was a missionary to Africa, and was a nurse in a leprosy hospital. She came to the institute and shared that during her stay at the institute, she did not learn any new truths, but that she did understand, and was grasping better those which she already knew. When we come to Psalm 46, which we have dealt with before, we are confronted with well-known truths. But, I wonder if we have learned well to live by them. One of the proofs is to ask the question: Do I live in fear? In Psalm 46 we find the antidote to that fear.
“God IS our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear…though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…” (v.2) God, through the psalmist here reveals a discovery that has set the psalmist free from fear. He has TAKEN the Lord his God to BE his refuge (…and thus, Keeper), and his strength, that very Divine enablement in the midst of “trouble,” in all of its forms. These are not just nice words that the psalmist has penned. These are life and breath to him, bread and wine. He has chosen to LIVE by the words of God, the truths of Christ…and thus, KNOW the reality of the “…very present help…” of God.
Most of us do not know God very well simply because we have not believed Him wholly. “They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.” Peter did not know the power of walking on water until he descended from the boat, and began walking on the water in the storm….looking unto Jesus. As long as his eyes were FIXED on Jesus, his faith did not waver in the power of God. But when the circumstances diverted his attention, faith failed, and he began to sink. It is one thing to read truth in the Word of God. It is another to wholly rely on the God of the Word, deliberately and decisively believing Him.
One last point, and that is, “How can I have this faith, faith in the face of fear?” Later in Psalm 46, after mentioning the presence of God with us, and his promise to meet us, “…right early,” the psalmist tells us: “Be still (cease striving) and KNOW that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (v. 10) If we would have faith, then we need to stop, and look upward. We need to learn to worship the One to whom we belong, and who belongs to us for all of our hourly need. If faith would replace fear, we need to see Him (Christ) as He is, and trust Him in a corresponding manner. This begins in the quiet place, being alone with Him, trusting the Holy Spirit to give us an ever-increasing vision of Christ. Fear’s grip is broken when we see Him, and understand who He IS, and what He will do. He is indeed, “…a VERY present help in time of need.”