Do you ever think that fear and anxiety are wrong? After all, you keep reading “Do not be anxious.” That command, however, has much in common with Jesus’s words to a grieving mother: “Do not weep” (Luke 7:13 ESV). They are both words intended to comfort and assure the hearer that Jesus was going to do something.
The Bible makes it clear that we live in a world with endless threats. In this world, getting rid of all of your worries is not an option. Instead, the Lord counters your fear with comfort. So, as you grow, expect that your faith and your fear will be linked. When your fears appear, your faith is right there too. Psalm 56 is a helpful guide to this delicate process.
The psalmist puts fears into words, and then he immediately speaks of his confidence in God’s care and presence. We speak our fears and our trust at the same time. The extremes of lament meet spiritual confidence. The prayers go back and forth.
Fears are upon him. They are not the imaginations of some distant day. After his declaration of confidence in the Lord, he returns to his overwhelming circumstances.
With fear and faith as partners, the psalmist then refocuses his eyes on the deeper reality. God remembers each tear and even the fitful sleep of his people. And he never merely remembers. When he remembers, he acts. He is pleased to
Then he repeats his earlier refrain.
What can an enemy do? Quite a bit. But no enemy can restrain God from remembering and acting on your behalf. No enemy will ultimately triumph. And even death itself will not keep you from God’s presence and mercy. So as we look for mini-deliverances in daily life and ultimate deliverance and justice coming soon, with Jesus, we give thanks.
The absence of all fear, meanwhile, awaits the age to come.
Excerpted from A Small Book for the Anxious Heart by Ed Welch. © 2019 by New Growth Press.