When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
I am not sure about you, but when I am afraid, the last thing I want to do is trust. I don’t want to trust; instead, I want an absolute air-tight guarantee that what I dread won’t happen. Because of that, I have regularly been puzzled by the words of David in Psalm 56.3. How do we trust, when we are afraid?
But as I have studied my fear, and fear, in general, and what the Bible describes about fear and what to do, some of the riddles have opened up to me. One of riddles concerns fear and trust. Fear and trust are intimately tied together. We can look at this in a couple of ways. First, fear is the emotion we experience, when something we hold dear is threatened. We could also say that fear is what we experience, when something we trust (another way of describing ‘hold dear’) is threatened. Our fears show us what we trust. If we trust our reputation to give us meaning in life, then when something threatens our good reputation, we are afraid. To be vulnerable, if I put my trust in preaching sermons to give me meaning and significance in life, then if something threatens me giving a good sermon, I am afraid.
Fear, then, is an opportunity for us to examine our hearts to see what our heart trusts. Fearful times for us are also redemptive, because we are given the opportunity in difficulty to turn from trusting lesser things (good reputation, good sermons, etc.) to trust in God, who will not fail us. His promises are sure and trustworthy. This is the work of preaching the gospel to ourselves in the circumstances of life as trials reveal what our hearts trust, so we can turn to God in the midst of fear, and place our trust in him.
What do your fears say to you about what you trust? What is being threatened, so that you are fearful? Instead of trusting in something that can be threatened, place your trust in God, whose will none can thwart, whose goodness is from everlasting to everlasting, and who loves you in Christ with all the love that Jesus deserves.
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