Knowing Fear Away

A couple of months ago, my daughters enjoyed playing in a hotel swimming pool. They are not entirely comfortable in the water, so getting them to jump in requires some coaxing. Once I convince them that I will catch them and keep them afloat, they jump. Knowing that I am for them and will keep them safe overcomes the fear of uncertainty.

David gives testimony to a similar experience in Psalm 56:9. David acknowledges a fearfulness – the Philistines seized him – but turns to the Lord. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Some might question this. You can’t see God. God does not come and “catch” you physically. Why would David trust in God? He answers that question in verse 9: “This I know, that God is for me.”

David testifies to a certainty. “This I know.” Overcoming fear accepts eternal certainties in the midst of temporal trials. Trials constitute a real part of life. David faced real enemies. Paul really was stoned, shipwrecked, whipped, and imprisoned. Peter really went to jail. And Jesus really died on a cross. Overcoming fear does not dismiss real trials and real danger. Instead, confidence grasps eternal certainties to keep from sinking in circumstances. David does not turn to wishful thinking or vague possibilities. He turns to something he knows.

David know that God is for him. God chose David to rule. God is David’s greatest ally. Because that is the case, he raises the rhetorical question two verses later, “What can man do to me?” Answer: Nothing outside of God’s purposes. The sovereign, loving, just, compassionate, merciful, good, omnipresent, omniscient God of heaven always remains with David. Because he knows this he can overcome the paralyzing effects of fear.

We live in a world full of legitimate dangers and wicked people. Overcoming fear does not dismiss reality. Just like people really do drown in water. The point of conquering rests in the fact that someone can hold you up.

If you have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, God already proved that He is for you. He put His only Son on a rugged cross to deliver you from the eternal damnation you deserved for your sin. He arranged your life to providentially come into contact with the gospel. And He opened your eyes to understand your need for Jesus Christ. God is for you. Even while you struggle in deep waters, God is for you. He will bring you safely through for His glory. If you fear today, know that He is for you and with you.

About the Author
Nathaniel Pringle serves as the pastor of Eastside Community Bible Church, Milford, Ohio. His goal is to fulfill the commission in Titus 2:1, "But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine." (ESV)

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