A friend of mine recently went in for a battery of medical tests – testing for life threatening diseases – and insurance issues held up the process for over a month. Week after week at our prayer meetings, he reported that he was still waiting on the results. The not knowing added to the anxiety that already threatened him, since he might essentially be getting a death sentence any day. I did my best to calm his fears, but I can imagine how hard it is not to worry in a situation like that.
Many people have struggled with anxiety when confronted with health issues. The 46th Psalm is one I have read several times to people in hospital beds. It is a Psalm that I believe can bring comfort to those facing unsettling or even terrifying circumstances. Within this inspired work these words appear: we will not fear. It’s a nice sentiment, but this world is filled with things that invoke fear. The Psalmist lists a few after the ideal we will not fear, (it continues) though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Verses 2-3 NIV) Natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis would no doubt invoke terror to those affected. We have not had any tsunamis in Wylie, TX recently, but we are no strangers to tornados and hail storms here. Even without natural disasters, though, this life isn’t always a walk in the park!
So how can we live without constant fear of what might happen? The Psalmist tells us how by giving us some truth just before the “therefore”: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. (Verses 1-2a) My guess is that most of you are aware of this truth from the Bible: God is our refuge and strength, but are still struggling to realize the Biblical result of that truth, an ever-present help in trouble that results in absence of fear. If that is the case, I have good news for you. The key to diminishing fear based on the truth that God is our refuge and strength is found later in the Psalm – but I’ll warn you, it’ll cost you. If you want to see fears diminished, you need to be willing to pay the price of your time.
To find the key, let’s skip down to verse 10: He says, “Be still and know that I am God…” That, my friends, is the key to unlocking we will not fear based on the truth God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you have victory in the spiritual realm; all your problems are in the physical realm. The key is to focus on the spiritual because the more aware you are of spiritual truths, the less daunting the physical problems seem. Be still is translated stop striving in other translations. Turn your attention from the physical and focus on the spiritual. Then know that I am (He is) God. In other words, focus on, dwell on, meditate on God. Know He is there, and focus on the truths you know about God. This is something for you to do regularly, not just when problems arise. TAKE TIME to meditate on God so that you have an awareness of His presence with you throughout the day. Look past the physical and dwell on the spiritual, your God. Then, the problems in the physical don’t seem to have the same power to invoke debilitating fear. This does require your time, but it’s time that is well spent and well worth the effort.
Below are things to dwell upon, to know about God once you take the time to be still:
- Dwell upon God’s love for you. Though we don’t always understand why things happen in the physical world, we can be sure of God’s love. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. (Psalm 108:4) Don’t try to disqualify yourself, argue against the possibility, or spend time doubting it. Receive God’s love. Say it out loud to Him, “I receive your love.” Repeat as necessary.
- Dwell upon God’s presence with you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20b) Get quiet, look around you, and remind yourself that God’s Spirit is there with you. Close your eyes to tune out the physical world, and believe that God is present.
- Dwell upon God’s power. God is all powerful, meaning He can do all things that can be done. Scripture declares Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. (Jeremiah 32:17) Memorize this verse, then get outside, look up at the sky, and declare it. Consider the clouds, the blue, the sunset, the moon and stars, the sun…and remember that God created it all from nothing.
- Dwell upon God’s gift to you of salvation that makes you immortal. One reason the Bible was written is that you may know your soul is immortal. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13) Realize that your life doesn’t end when your body takes its last breath. If you have repented and called upon the name of Jesus to save you, then your spirit will still be alive with Him.
Be still and know that He is God.