The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble? Psalm 27:1-2
Why should we be afraid? Of course, we shouldn’t. We know that…in our heads. We have nothing to fear if our hope is in Christ.
And yet, the reality is that for most of us what’s in our head, what we know to be true, doesn’t always translate into how we live. We have this professed faith we say we believe and then we have our functional faith which is how we actually live. It isn’t intentional. It’s not calculated or decided. It’s just the reality of our disconnect—even as followers of Christ—with the God we love.
The Lord is the light of our salvation, he is our fortress and protection, so of course we shouldn’t fear or worry or tremble. But still, we find ourselves worrying about how we’ll get all the bills paid. Still we uncover fears and frets as we lay awake wondering how we’ll talk to this person or how we’ll respond to that email. We pray, but fearfully so, when we think about our kids and how they’ll grow and what they’ll encounter, and who they’ll befriend. We can become paralyzed with concern over what our boss thinks of our performance or how our friends view us after that outburst of anger.
We worry about people, we fear about money, we are concerned about all the issues we can’t control and the things we don’t know about. We even fight this fear of death! The people who have a God who’s defeated death, who has taken away the sting of death. And yet still we fear.
Is it a lack of trusting God? Maybe. For some of us that definitely it and in certain situations that’s probably it for all of us. Is it a lack of belief that our God is personally invested in us? Again, this is probably somewhat true too. Maybe it’s that we enjoy the attention and perceived difficulty of our lives that comes from having something fear. A friend of mine recently referred to this as the “tragic hero” mentality. So much going on, so much hardship, so much to fret over. People admire our ability to make it through and we like this perception of ourselves. It could be as simple as a control issue. We like to feel in control, so when we don’t feel in control all our trust in God’s protection and God’s sovereign hand on our lives is out the window.
It could be some or all of these. It could be something else. But I for one am determined to take this tendency head on. I’m not calling for us to be irresponsible or throw caution the wind and live wildly out of control, but I think we need to recognize the ways in which what we say we believe about God doesn’t line up with how we live. We need to begin unpacking the areas of life where our professed faith and our functional faith don’t meet. And what better place to start than with fear and worry?
The Lord is my light and my salvation. The Lord is my protection.
Lord, let me live in this truth today.