Why wait for fear to threaten and overwhelm you before you decide to trust in God?
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. —Psalm 23:4
We have nothing to fear—and yet we do fear. We need an answer for our fears.
In this Psalm, David said, “I will fear no evil.” But he didn’t just make a bold claim, he gave a reason: “for you are with me.” The confidence he experienced as he faced the future rested in a God who never fails as our Good Shepherd.
What do you fear as you’re going through the valley? It may not be the valley itself, but what’s coming afterward that you fear. The parents who receive news that their unborn child will have special needs—it’s not just the valley they think about, it’s the rest of life. Or someone who's just been diagnosed with a chronic illness—it’s not the news today, it’s tomorrow and next week. The worry of, What will happen to me? Will I be okay? The unknown results and outcomes may drive your fears.
But there is an alternative. In the depth of the valley, you do not have to fear the future. You don’t have to worry about your reputation, or having your needs met, or being alone. David knew the answer for today’s and tomorrow’s fears was, “you are with me.”
Nothing comes into your life but what Almighty God allows. Sometimes He says, “I will let her go through that. She will draw down upon My strength. Allow it.” God may also say, “No. Don’t allow that. It will overwhelm him. He is not ready.” Nothing comes into your life that God doesn’t already know about. And since He is with you, you don’t have to fear.
Notice how David shifted his attention in this verse from talking about the Shepherd to talking to the Shepherd, “For you are with me.” Too many Christians want the benefit of claiming “God is with me,” but spend too little time talking to the God who is with them.
Can fear be avoided entirely? Probably not. But Scripture gives us an alternative plan that prepares against and responds to fear. Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” God's Word gives us hope when we find ourselves overtaken by fear. Instead of wallowing in it, we can put our trust in Him. We can deliberately turn away from fear and toward the Lord. This affirmation is also found in Isaiah 12:2, “I will trust, and will not be afraid.”
Why wait for fears to come before you decide to trust God? Practice trusting Him as a daily exercise. When you do, you may not even notice how many fears you’ll simply walk by, because your attention will be on the One who is not threatened by any fearful thing.
If you’ve become accustomed to the “when-I’m-afraid-I-will-trust” approach, this word is especially for you. It’s time to practice greater confidence in your Shepherd today—“I will trust, and will not be afraid”—and live in the place of ultimate victory.
- Why is it better to trust and not be afraid, than to approach life with a "when-I-am-afraid-I-will-trust" attitude? Under what circumstances might this be helpful to remember?
Father, I confess that sometimes my fears reveal I’m not trusting You as I know I should, but trusting in something or someone else instead. Thank you for reminding me just how fragile everything else is compared with You. Thank You for never leaving or forsaking me. Thank You for never letting me down and always proving Yourself trustworthy. Help me learn to trust You increasingly and banish fears from my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.