You’re afraid. Or, you want to know how to cope the next time you’re afraid. And we want to give you effective, straightforward, practical help in five minutes. We want you to experience God at work in your fear today.
What we share is not a silver-bullet to slay all fear. Rather, it’s a spiritual exercise to help you practically put your trust in God rather than let fear paralyze you.
Fear finds all of us. When it does, our thoughts—rational or not—start affecting our physiology. As we begin to dread this or that, our heart beats faster, our brain loses focus, and we exhaust our imagination, wondering how to handle what hasn’t happened yet.
It’s so hard—sometimes impossible—to just “stop being afraid.” We need a way out of the worry-cycle and God’s Word provides that way out. In fact, there’s a wonderful Psalm in the Bible that acts as our golden thread to lead us out of fear’s labyrinth.
The Way Out of Fear
Here’s what you’ll need: five minutes, a pen and paper (or a note on your phone), and Psalm 34. Ready? Let’s do something about this fear.
The author begins his Psalm by getting excited about who God is. The author vows he’ll never stop talking about how great God is (Psalm 34:1). So we wonder, why? What has God done for this guy? And then we find out: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears” (v. 4).
God had freed him from fear, and it moved him to praise God. Friend, we want you to know how great the God of the Bible is, too. He’s living and loving, and he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). We believe that he wants you to know him, too.
Whether for the first or five-hundredth time, are you willing today to believe God’s Word that he wants to deliver you from your fears?
How Can We Experience God’s Deliverance?
1. Seek the Lord
The Psalmist says, “I sought the Lord.” He pursued the Lord even while he was afraid!
How do we do that?
In the book of Acts, we read, “He is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’” (Acts 17:27-28 ESV). The Lord is omnipresent. Augustine says this means that, to God, “everything is present.” This means you are immediately present to God. He knows you, your circumstances, and even your thoughts (Psalm 139:1-2). So, how do you find God if he’s everywhere? All you have to do is acknowledge his ever-presence. We call this prayer. It’s talking to the God revealed to us in the Bible, who is always there, everywhere.
What do we say when we seek God through prayer?
2. Specifically, Tell Him Your Fears
We tell him why we are afraid. Notice the Psalmist says, “he delivered me from all my fears.” That means every single one. If the Psalmist didn’t recognize each of his fears individually, he wouldn’t be able to praise God for having directly delivered him from “all of them.” He may even have written them out. And that’s just what we’re going to do.
So, grab your pen and paper (or open your note in your phone). At the top of your page, write out the verse above (Psalm 34:4 ESV).
Next, you’re going to direct your prayer to God. It’s as easy as saying (or writing) “Lord,” reminding yourself that you’re not just journaling, you’re addressing the ruler over heaven and earth about your circumstances (Psalm 103:19).
Now, let’s make a list. Start every line with, “Lord, I am afraid that…” You can limit yourself to five minutes or five items. Or, keep listing things out until you’ve drained every known fear from your mind. You don’t need to be wordy or clever (Matthew 6:7-8), or even specifically name what you’re feeling (Romans 8:26). Just write like you’re talking to a friend.
3. Trust Him for Deliverance
Now you’re going to choose to trust the Lord (Psalm 56:3-4). You’re going to sign off your prayer by asking the Lord, “Please, Lord, deliver me from all my fears so that I might ‘taste and see that you are good’” (Psalm 34:8).
Remember, the Lord is a Divine Person, not a force. God is personal and he cares for you. You have communicated your heart to the God who made it. You’re trusting him to take what you have told him and do something about it.
This Psalm speaks of God’s deliverance. You’ve sounded the trumpets, you’ve called for help, and now you wait for the rescue. The Lord will fight for you (Psalm 34:17-18).
What to Do As You Wait for Deliverance
Trust God to work. You may have a conversation ahead that you dread, a diagnosis you’re waiting on, or maybe you’re facing a dangerous situation. Walk on in your regular routine and responsibilities as you wait on the Lord. He is faithful.
As you wait, here’s what you can do right now. Open your Bible to Psalm 34. Read the whole Psalm. This Scripture is God’s own Word to you—Augustine would say it’s God’s love letter to his people. Clinging to this word is like taking God’s own hand as he guides you to a place of deliverance so you can experience his goodness (Psalm 71:23; Psalm 34:8). He will deliver you for, “those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed” (Psalm 34:5).
And we can tell you from personal experience, “this poor man cried and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34:6 ESV). The more troubles you entrust to the Lord, the more deliverances you will have to thank him for. You will be able to increasingly say with the author of Psalm 34, “I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (v.1 ESV).
Friend, take five minutes to give him your fears, and let him deliver you, too.