A few weeks ago I found myself in a whirlwind of emotions. Our son lives and works in West Palm Beach, Florida. When word that Hurricane Irma was heading his way, I began to communicate with him regarding his plans. He’s pretty laid-back and not risk-averse so he was going to wait and see. As things progressed and evacuations were called for, my stress level began to rise. He is on staff at a large church in the area and because they have several campuses in several cities, they were still in the decision process on canceling their weekend services. Our son decided to wait for their final decision before making evacuation plans. Meanwhile, I’m reading of gas shortages, traffic jams, hearing stories from friends and families of past “disasters” when trying to evacuate a Florida hurricane. Well-meaning friends and family were calling and texting to inquire about Jacob and his plans. My husband was on the road that week, so I was home alone trying to process this battle of feelings and faith. In the end, Jacob headed home on Thursday afternoon and was safely in Augusta well ahead of the storm. But it was the in-between of this story that had me living out the words of Psalm 119:49-64 (along with several other verses of Scripture). It’s amazing how often the Lord uses circumstances involving Jacob as the proving ground that my faith is greater than my fears.
One evening during this process I was listening to music and reading Scripture when a song by the band Casting Crowns began to play. It’s their song “Oh My Soul”. There is a line in the song that struck such cord with me and the Lord used to remind me of truth and to comfort me:
“There’s a place where fear has face the God you know.”
Yes! When fear hits us like a tidal wave against the shore, we can allow it to consume and overwhelm us. We can give in and allow fear and feelings to rule and reign our thoughts and behavior. Or we can choose to acknowledge the feelings and allow them to hit against something deeper within our souls—a deeper place where our soul is anchored by our faith and relationship with Jesus.
This is where the Word of God plays such a powerful role in our lives. Fear is going to come. As in a storm, the waves and wind may repeatedly crash the shore. But when we take up the Word of God and combine it with our faith in God, we construct a foundational wall that sends the storm back out to sea. It may assault again, but we stand firm behind that strong foundation.
This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your promises give me life. —Psalm 119:50
This week my affliction was the battle between my feelings and my faith. But when I was afflicted, God’s Word and His promises gave me life and steadied my soul.
Some of the words we find in this week’s verses practically illustrate how we can walk in faith when fear and feelings are threatening and send us swirling.
Remember Your Word to your servant, in which You have made me hope. —Psalm 119:49
When I think of Your rules from of old, I take comfort, O Lord. —Psalm 119:52
I remember Your name in the night, O Lord, and keep Your laws. —Psalm 119:55
When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to Your testimonies; —Psalm 119:59
When battling the fear threatening to consume, I can remember God’s promises. I can think or meditate on His truth. Worry and meditating are closely related. Worry involves meditating upon the worst possibilities and trying to foresee or control the outcomes. I can choose to meditate upon the fearful or I can choose to turn my thoughts to the One who controls all things! I can choose to meditate upon what I know to be true about who God is. God’s character and attributes are revealed to us throughout the stories of Scripture but also in looking back at His past faithfulness in our lives.
Worry and allowing fear to rule simply states that we do not completely trust or believe God.
Your statutes have been my song in the house of my sojourning. —Psalm 119:54
At midnight I rise to praise You, because of Your righteous rules. —Psalm 119:62
Praise is a powerful weapon in the battle against fear and in harnessing our emotions. Praise takes the focus off my situation and places it on the Lord—who He is and what He has done. Praise gives expression to those places deep within my soul that knows my God is mighty, strong and able. My God is faithful. My God is steadfast love. Fear threatens to drown out these words of truth, but praise leaves no room for fear.
As I read Psalm 119:62 I was reminded of a story from Acts 16 where Paul and Silas find themselves as prisoners in Philippi. It’s a story of fear and trembling, earthquakes, faith, prayer and praise. Take a moment to read this for yourself—Acts 16:16-24.
What an encouragement to read that Paul and Silas were not fretful or seeking a way out, but praying and singing hymns to God.
When fear seeks to consume you, try remembering and rehearsing the truths and promises of God’s Word. Call out to Him in prayer and praise Him in song! Our God is steadfast and immovable! He will comfort and encourage you. He will flood you with His peace.
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. —2 Chronicles 16:9
When you come to a verse in your daily reading of Scripture that reminds you of who God is, what He has done or something He has promised, write it down. Begin to build a foundation of truth that you can use to anchor your mind and soul in the midst of the raging storm.
The earth, O Lord, is full of Your steadfast love, teach me Your statutes. Psalm 119:64
Rejoicing in Him!
Journaling Assignment: Read and journal Psalm 119:65-72 (Teth) & Psalm 119:73-80 (Yodh).
©2017 Susan Cady, susancady.com