“What time I am afraid,
I will trust in thee.”
~ Psalm 56:3
The Christian, though entered into innumerable blessings, is not without fear. David could well recognize his danger, for he prayed, “Mine enemies would daily swallow me up” (Psalm 56:2). He was not so proud he could not admit of fear within. Paul was one who had also entered into similar experience. He wrote, “For, when we come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears” (2 Corinthians 7:5).
David was not indulged in blissful ignorance; he was a sensible man who knew enough to be afraid when he was in great danger. He was not wrong in this, for he resolved, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” In a certain sense, fear can be a blessing and preserver of our life. One reason we do not drive an hundred miles per hour on the highway at night is fear. We teach our children as they to grow to fear certain things. Not all fear is bad, nor is it wrong. Faith puts fear in the right place, making us fear God and not man.
A wonderful fact to our minds is that fear and trust were co-occupants within the Psalmist. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” How could these abide together? All fear has not been banished from the present life of God’s people. The presence of fear within David was not of itself wrong, but whenever fear reared its head, he would trust in God. Though fear might have been present, it was not in the majority. Fear was overruled by trust and had to give place to confidence.
The key is that fear was not debilitating for the Psalmist. If he had given in to fear, he had been paralyzed, unable to go forward. This was not the case, however, because of trust. He said, “In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me” (Psalm 56:4). He reiterated, “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me” (Psalm 56:11).
Note also that trust did not result in dishonesty. In other words, his trust did not involve talking himself into the fact that man could not do anything to him. Rather trust in God enabled him to “not fear” and “not be afraid” of “what flesh can do” to him and “what man can do” to him.
The antidote for fear is simple and efficacious—trust in the Lord. Though fear is not banished, it can be overcome. Are you debilitated by fear? Are you afraid of something and have become practically paralyzed because of it? Let us then consider a few words from God to direct our trust in the time we are afraid.
Do you have a fear of the dark and of the night? Are you robbed of rest by fretting in the absence of the sun? Hear God’s Word: “When thou liest down, thou shat not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet” (Proverbs 3:24).
Are you afraid of being rejected? Are you kept from witnessing a good confession before men because you fear being rejected? Do you worry you shall be forsaken of any caregivers? Hear then the Word of the Lord: “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up” (Psalm 27:9).
Do you fear going hungry? Are you afraid the food source will dry up, or the economy will take a dive? Hear God’s Word of promise: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habbakuk 3:17-18).
Lastly, are you afraid of God’s hand turning against you? Do you fear that evil shall come and not just good? Be assured with Job, who said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15).