Posted by: mikenicholsblog | May 20, 2015

special delivery

If you would like to have an interesting experience, take a moment and Google the top 100 phobias.  I’m guessing you would find at least one fear that tends to buffet you on the list. There are phobias for nearly anything you can imagine, and many sound a bit humorous (especially if they are fears that don’t bother you).  My wife’s greatest fear comes in at number two on the list.  She has a great fear of snakes and after having her foot grazed by a water moccasin, it makes sense that she doesn’t like creatures that crawl. Number three on the Top 100 list is one that I struggle with, the fear of heights.  I don’t like climbing roofs, riding high roller coasters or standing on a high ledge overlooking … a big drop off.  Our daughter feared the dentist as a child and still hates elevators. Before you think of us as a family of fearful, obsessive thinkers, remind yourself that you may also have some fears — such as fearing the dark, spiders, crowds, needles, the future … the list goes on.

The point is that fear in its various forms attacks us all. Some fears are legitimate and some can be fabrications of over-zealous thoughts.  Fear is real, and can cause any of us anxiety. The key is how we respond when the emotion of fear rises up within us. In my study of the Psalms there is a verse that has been meaningful to me over the years. Psalm 34:4 states:

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 34 is a psalm of David when he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who chose to drive him away.  I Samuel 21:10-15 gives us the context of this event in history.  David was on the run from King Saul, who wanted to kill him.  Considering David’s situation, (even with a great confidence in God) I could imagine battling the emotion of fear. 

In studying this verse, I have struggled to define in depth how to apply it. Obviously, the context of David running from Saul and acting insane in a place called Gath is not a circumstance in which we would ever find ourselves. But out of this experience David’s words from Psalm 34 have blessed countless people.  He sought the Lord. David prayed, and God responded (he answered me). What wonderful words for David to share when he stated that the Lord delivered me.  And what was he delivered from? All my fears! The fears that you and I battle are different from the ones David encountered, but they are still fears and God still has the capacity to deliver us.

If you and I were having an honest conversation, and I asked you, “Where does fear tend to buffet you the most?” would you have an answer for me? And then if I asked you, “Do you think God can deliver you from that anxious fear?”  the spiritual response would be, “of course I do.” But the more honest response may be, “Yes, I believe He can, but emotionally, I’m not sure.”  It seems that we often believe truths about God and His power, but place the weight of conquering issues like fear squarely on our own shoulders.  The Lord is the one who answers prayer and does the delivering, and we can trust Him.

I am keenly aware that many fears are deeply ingrained and sometimes are even the result of illness or other issues like abuse.  But in the normal course of living, Christ-followers are carrying the weight of fears that God is more than willing to lift. In the simplicity of a child, we can believe and apply the words that David penned, I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.  We need to stop carrying the weight and release it to the Father.

If any fear is buffeting you, would you give it to the Father right now? And when you sense that anxiety welling up again, release the fear to Him.  Remember, He knows your fears, and has the capacity to deliver you.

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