I am no stranger to fear. In fact, fear and I use to be very good friends. When my DH and I were first married, he commuted 45 minutes back and forth to Dallas. He would dutifully call me before he left work (pre-cell phone days) and then head my way. Sometimes the drive would take 45 minutes and other times it would take over an hour. At the hour point, I found myself watching the clock and imagining why he was late. Maybe he was in a wreck, or his car broke down. The list goes on. I didn't limit my worries to just him. I often had fears of for myself and my students. During this time, I taught in a Ft. Worth city school. This was the same time period as the shooting in Columbine. My room was on a hallway that led to the outside. Even though the school took security measures, I still did not feel safe. I would see a student I didn't know and my imagination would run wild. In both situations, nothing ever happened. I was fearful for nothing. Taking precautions is one thing. Worrying yourself sick is another.
Now I am in a different season of life. I live in a country where I have to wear a head covering and many people feel is dangerous. Actually, my family and I just moved here. People often ask me, "Are you afraid to live there?" And amazingly, my answer is "No, I am not afraid to live here." What has brought the change in me? Over the years, God has worked in me on turning all my fears over to him. I am not perfect at it but am getting better. I am comforted by his promises and that the best place to be is in the center of his will.
The other day I was also reminded of how there is one fear that is good. It is the fear of God. Also when I am afraid, my first instinct needs to be to turn to God. This was a lesson that David in the bible learned through experience. David's best friend Jonathan had just delivered the news that David was no longer safe in the palace. King Saul wanted David dead. David's only choice was to run and hide. First, David went to the priest and asked for food and a weapon not telling the priest the real reason for his visit. This visit ultimately ended up in the death of the priest and most of his family. Next, David tried going to the King of Gath to seek refuge there. The king's advisers warned the king that David was a great warrior and could still be his enemy. David saw his danger and acted insane to the point of saliva running down the side of his mouth. From here, David ran and hid in the cave of Adullam. (I Sam 21-22:1) It was after this incident that scholars believe Psalm 34 was written. David realised in his fear he made some wrong choices. He should have looked to God first of all for guidance and given his fears to the Lord. In verse 4, it says "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." My favorite is verse 7 which says "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers him." In the Psalm, David also instructs the reader to teach children to fear God and look to him. I am encouraged by David's example. He didn't always get it right the first time, but ultimately he looked to God for deliverance from his fears.
Dear God, You are an awesome God. May I fear you and seek you first in all things. Take away the fears that want to creep into my life everyday. Help me to be wise in my dealings but not afraid to go and do what you have called me to do. May I also teach my children to fear you and give you their fears. Amen