S30P3 – The honest prayer: I’m afraid

Psa. 38:17‭-‬20
For I am ready to fall; My sorrow is continually before me. For I do confess my guilt and iniquity; I am filled with anxiety because of my sin. But my enemies are vigorous and strong, And those who hate me without cause are many. They repay evil for good, they attack and try to kill me, Because I follow what is good

Courage and bravery can be difficult to define. Some say that the courageous experience no fear. Others say that they experience fear but are bold enough to face it head-on. Some fears are completely illogical and unfounded, and they are the result of flawed thinking and perception. Other fears are very real, such as the fear of which David speaks in this Psalm. He did not imagine that men we’re hunting him. This was actually happening to him. David was not indulging in some dramatic fantasy of mayhem and murder. David was literally running for his life. His desperation is almost tangible in this passage. No one would desire to be in that circumstance. And even though he knew that the God he served was behind him, he confessed that he was afraid.

We cannot live the full human experience without having emotions. They run the gamut from joy to disappointment to adoration to terror. All of these are real, valid feelings that we experience. Scripture tells us that we serve a God who imparts power and confidence to us. We serve a God who imparts wisdom and clarity. Although the fear we often feel comes from a source other than God and often is a mere illusion, that does not mean that we pretend not to feel it at all. It is important that we confront our fear by confessing it and calling it out. The requirement is for us to overcome our fear, not to ignore it. We must address it and deal with it in a spiritually productive way. We ask God to take our fear from us and replace it with his fearlessness. After all, it is He on whom we rely for our courage and not ourselves.

There is no shame in feeling fear. This is an emotion that we must learn to deal with in life. Being afraid does not mean that we do not trust God to save us from that which we fear. He can take us through a process that will cause us to overcome those fears. But if we pretend that nothing scares us, that nothing makes us anxious or worried, then we cannot address the issue. Let us pray honestly to our Father in heaven and confess what we feel when we feel it. Only then do we hand it over to God for him to change us. Father, thank You that we can come to You in prayer and confess those things that trouble us without condemnation, and continue to grow in us courage when we encounter times of fear.