Monday, March 16, 2020

When I am Afraid

There was a parakeet named Chippie who was a happy, singing bird. One day, when Chippie’s owner was vacuuming, she decided to clean his cage...with a vacuum cleaner. She was almost finished when the phone rang, As she turned around to answer it, she heard a thwpt. Chippie was gone. She ripped open the vacuum bag and there was Chippie, covered in dirt and gasping for air. She ran into the bathroom and stuck him under the cold water faucet at full force. He began to shiver. She reached for the hair dryer! Chippie never knew what hit him. A few days later when asked how he was recovering. "Well, Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore. He just sits and stares."

Many of us are being traumatized by the media stirring up our own fears. Whether its fake news or stories about world-wide turmoil, natural disasters or local crises, rampant disease or the over-reach of government to shut down the whole country, we sit in our cages and just stare.

Fear consumes us. It creates confusion. A young girl on the news yesterday said, “I don’t know what to do.” That’s the extremes of fear. On one side we act unreasonably and on the other we’re too paralyzed to act at all.

I’m told the worst predicament for a pilot is the flat spin. All the mechanisms that control the plane no longer work. And unless he can take back control, he’ll fall out of the sky. 

We’ve all felt that sense of helplessness when things begin to spiral out of our control.  We’re strapped in our seats but can’t stop what’s going on. That helplessness breeds hopeless that says there is no help and never will be any help. Well, let’s turn off the incessant noise and pull back the curtain and apply what we learned last week about trusting God.

Luke 8:22-25 Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, "Let us go over to the other side of the lake." So they launched out. But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm.  And He said to them, "Where is your faith?" 

A lady was watching two gas company workers change out her meter. One challenged the other to a race back to the truck. They took off. When they got to the truck, the lady was right behind them. They asked, “What’s wrong? Did something happen?” She said, “You tell me. When I see two gas men tear out across my yard running away from a gas meter, I’m running too.”

I remember as a kid taking my cues from my dad. If he wasn’t afraid, I didn’t need to be afraid. 

Early on the Media challenged the President for not taking this virus more seriously. He was and is maintaining control. You don’t want your leaders caught up in the hype of hysteria.

Here’s Jesus, completely at peace, questioning His disciples about their inability to trust Him. "Where is your faith?" meant: Here is an opportunity to trust and instead you are choosing fear as your response.

What is faith based upon? Our ability to hang onto God? As kids, we’d challenge each other to amazing feats of strength. One was to see who could hang the longest from a bar. Ever try that? Just hang there. Seems simple. Until your muscles start to burn. Your hands get sweaty. Your fingers ache. Your grip begins to loosen. And you’re coming down.

My ability to hang onto God is limited. I lose focus. I get distracted. I get tired. I relax my grip.

Faith isn’t me holding onto God, it’s confidence that God is holding onto me. It’s in that moment peace comes.

What is peace? The comfort that comes when we realize God’s got this.

Phil 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Jesus gave peace as a gift to combat fear: John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 
So that instead of sitting in my cage, staring out into the void, afraid to move or something worse might happen to me, I give God my concerns and rest in His grip. When I do, peace overrides the fear.

Ps 56:1-4 Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me; fighting all day long he oppresses me. My foes have trampled upon me all day long, for they are many who fight proudly against me. When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? 

David said when not if. He was never afraid to admit his concerns. It wasn’t weakness to acknowledge fear. But he didn’t stop there. He simply mentioned them on the way to declare His confidence in God. 

Ps 56:8-12 You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call; This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? Your vows are binding upon me, O God; 

I was captured by vs. 12: Your vows are binding upon me, O God; I looked that up and found that the word binding isn’t in the text. It’s in italics. Which means that’s what the translators thought David was saying. That the vows I have made to You are binding upon me. Well they are, but that’s not what David is saying here.

Take out the word binding and it reads: Your vows are upon me, O God.  

Vows are our promises. In a wedding they are statements that create a covenant between a man and woman. Each standing upon their own words. Not, this is what I promise if you hold up your end of the bargain. But, this I promise. It is my commitment to you.

In Scripture there are conditional statements God makes based on our response but vows are promises guaranteed by the character of the one making the promise. This expresses who I am.
David knew that God’s vows, His promises, are on him. That God’s faithfulness was attached to his life.

When that becomes real, fear has no place to stick to us. It melts away. David said at first: When I am afraid, this is what I’ll do. I’ll exchange fear for trust. I’ll rest in God’s promises. The second time he simply said: that’s what I did. I trusted and I’m not afraid.

Isaiah says we are to anticipate God’s peace, to expect it. Isa 32:17 And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever. 

Who works righteousness? God. Who receives the service of righteousness? We do.

In other words, when I choose to trust. I intentionally give God my concerns. I declare the greater truth that God’s peace outweighs my fear. I announce with confidence: Your vows are upon me, O God.  

I Will Be With You

Josh 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." 
Deu 31:6  "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremblefor the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you." 

I Will Protect You

Ps 91:14-15 Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. 

I Will Be Your Strength

Isa 40:29 He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. 

I Will Answer You

Jer 33:3 Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know. 

I Will Provide For You

Matt 6:25-26 For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 

I Will Give You Peace

Isa 26:3 The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. 

I Will Always Love You

Rom 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

God never made a promise that was too good to be true. – Moody

In 1988, an 8.2 earthquake almost flattened the country of Armenia, killing over 30,000 people in less than four minutes. In the midst of chaos and destruction, a father rushed to his son’s school. But found a heap of rubble. He ran to the back corner of the building where his son’s classroom used to be and began to dig. All he knew was that he had made a promise to always be there for his boy, and nothing would stop him from fulfilling that promise.

Well-meaning parents tried to pull him out of the rubble saying: "It’s too late!" "They’re dead!" "You can’t help!" "Go home!" "There’s nothing you can do!" The fire chief tried to pull him off the rubble by saying, "Fires and explosions are happening everywhere. You’re in danger. Go home!" Finally, the police came and said, "It’s over. You’re endangering others. Go home. We’ll handle it!" All the father could say was, “I’ve made a promise.”

38 hours later, he pulled back a chunk of concrete and heard a voice. He screamed, "ARMAND?" "Dad!? I told them you’d find me! I knew you’d find me! You promised."

God never gives his children a promise he doesn’t intend to keep. 

“There are some promises in the Bible which I have never yet used, but I am well assured that there will come times of trial and trouble when I shall find that that poor despised promise, which I thought was never meant for me, will be the only one on which I can float”.—Charles Spurgeon

Your vows are upon me, O God…in whatever’s going on You will be faithful…In You O God I have put my trust, I will not be afraid.


  1. There are a lot of things that can hurt us in this world.
  2. Some we can see coming, others we don’t know about until they’ve invaded our lives.
  3. But in everything, without exception, we can choose to trust God and receive His peace or melt away under the torment of fear.
  4. God has never failed one of His children, therefore, instead of being afraid, trust Him.

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