Fear: It’s a Matter of Where You Are Standing

Sunday Scripture

Welcome to the Christian life! It’s a stress-free picnic every day with continual success, lots of friends, and the knowledge that your children will always be well-behaved in public. No problems, no questions, no doubts.

Is that what you believe? If so, I have some incredibly good news for you that should help you to reconcile your real life with what you read in the Bible:  You’re wrong.

Reality comes into sharp focus for the believer in Psalm 91:

You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
    nor of the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor of the destruction that wastes at noon.”  (Psalm 91:5, 6)

Terror, arrows, pestilence, and destruction fall upon the just and the unjust.  We are not immune from the tragedy or the misfortune that is part of life on a fallen planet. Our kids get sick, our cars give up the ghost, and sometimes our “terror of the night” is a shrinking bank balance and a growing pile of bills. Even so, there is an implied promise here–not that we will be exempt from difficulties, but, rather, that we will not be ruled by fear.

We can read these promises, then, as an assurance of preservation from the evil that lies in every trial and trouble. Eugene Peterson offers this metaphor:

All the water in the oceans cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside. Nor can all the trouble in the world harm us unless it gets within us… None of the things that happen to you, none of the troubles you encounter, have any power to get between you and God, dilute his grace in you, divert his will from you.”

Some Seasons Require Extra Grace

When the only thing that’s certain is that things will remain uncertain for the foreseeable future, we need strong doses of truth to counteract fear. We need to be reminded of where we are standing as believers in Jesus Christ. Those fearless folks in Psalm 91 are standing in “the Shadow of the Almighty,” a metaphor for God’s care and protection.

This is not clearance to practice a Pollyanna-ish form of denial, but instead, it’s an acknowledgement that even when life takes a turn toward terror, we are equipped to persevere, to function in faith rather than in fear–not because of our own courage, but because we remember where we are standing:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.’” (Psalm 91:1, 2)

Capture

Friends at Do Not Depart have been spending the month of April memorizing truth from Psalm 91. It’s not too late for you to take advantage of the great resources offered free on line that will help you to store up truth for the seasons when we are in need of extra grace. Click here for the memory challenge and a link to the free resources.

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58 thoughts on “Fear: It’s a Matter of Where You Are Standing”

  1. It is true we have not been promised a life of ease. But we can better navigate these days as we make the journey with our God. He is faithful, He is trustworthy, He is reliable, He is our anchor and our rock. We need to remind ourselves with Whom we and in Whom we live. So encouraging!

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  2. I find great comfort in the Word and knowing that He has promised to never leave or forsake me. Psalm 91 is definitely a bench mark scripture for me.

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  3. God meets us where we are in good times and in bad. Suffering tests our faith and God rejoices with us and
    suffers with us.We can always look upward for whatever we need!!

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  4. God meets us where we are in good times and in bad. Suffering tests our faith and God rejoices with us and
    suffers with us.We can always look upward for whatever we need!!

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  5. Michele, I loved the first two paragraphs of this post. You don’t mince words! The quote by Eugene Peterson is a good one. His metaphor is so apt at this time. Thank you for the reminder to proceed with faith rather than fear. I needed to read that this morning.

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  6. Michele,
    I’m a visual learner, so it helps to think about not allowing the trouble on the outside to invade the inside. I pray Psalm 91 over my precious children in Pakistan all the time and so it comforts me during this pandemic. Fear, I’ve heard, is just the enemy running out of breath. Joining with you in combating the enemy’s lies with God’s Truth and kicking the enemy to the curb. Beautiful!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like the Eugene Peterson quote, and Psalm 91 is one of my favourites. It’s the only full chapter of the Bible I’ve managed to memorise and it’s one I enjoy coming back to.

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  8. A top-notch post, Michele! Add me to the list of those who are very glad you included that Eugene Peterson quote. As another visual learner, the imagery brought much clarity. Praise God for our place to stand: in the protective shadow of the Almighty!

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  9. That’s a great quote about the water/troubles getting inside. Honestly, it is relevant to a lot of seasons I’ve been in, not just this current pandemic. Great encouragement. Thanks, Michele!

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  10. We are equipped to find solace in facts and reason and although not a religious person, I still use much of what I learned from 12 years of Catholic school in conjunction with the brain God gave me.

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  11. Wow, wow, WOW, Michele. I never read these verses in this context before! I love, love what you said about how we will face hard times, but we don’t have to let fear rule us in the middle of those seasons.

    ” Even so, there is an implied promise here–not that we will be exempt from difficulties, but, rather, that we will not be ruled by fear.”

    I’m pondering your words and thoughts here, friend. Thank you for being a truth-speaker and a courage-strengthener.

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    1. I can actually remember the MOMENT when I realized that Christians are not exempt from evil. It was a shattering realization, and I come back to it all the time. Thanks for entering the pondering with me.

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  12. You write/copy words of the Lord, but I want to understand the thoughts of the Lord because I personally think that the gates of hell have opened and Satan is walking among us and the archangel Michael is putting together his thoughts and strategy. He will make pathway for our Lord to gather his children and to show us the trail to His kingdom. So for now we sit and pray and wait! Gather our family… our children and pray.

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  13. Lovely post. I think this chapter has become an anthem for this time in our lives.

    Thanks for taking part at ‘My Corner of the World’ this week! It’s good to see you.

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  14. I wonder how many people looking from the outside of Christianity believe we live a Pollyanna life? I will admit that I did not understand the truth that as believers we would still have days of hardships as well as blessings until I was older. The best part is that God protected me from this truth until I was ready to receive it. Thank you for pointing us to Psalm 91. I have sung the words from this Psalm many times as I was growing up.

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    1. This ->”God protected me from this truth until I was ready to receive it.”
      I’m sure that’s my story as well, and it certainly makes all the pieces come together when we stop “apologizing” for God and incorporate the true story behind the problem of evil into our lived theology.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

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  16. ‘We will not be ruled by fear’, I love this Michele. It’s a strange time at the moment, but we can be stronger with faith and the courage that we won’t let ourselves be ruled by fear. Thank you for sharing this with the #DreamTeamLinky x

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  17. I think this is my biggest struggle if I’m being honest Michele – being ruled by fear. As someone who tends to suffer from anxiety, fear can take over my thoughts quite a lot and I have to fight it all the time. I couldn’t agree with you more, we have to stay strong and believe that things will improve and we will see better days #globalblogging

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  18. It’s so comforting to know that nothing can separate us from God and His love and so, as you said, we don’t have to be ruled by fear when the hardships come. I memorized Psalm 91 years ago and still know it pretty well but I could probably stand a refresher.

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