"I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears."
“Everything is going to be OK.”
That phrase is a standard in the parenting arsenal, one that we pull out to ease the sting of our children’s skinned knees and elbows when they fall and to calm their fears when things go bump in the night. It's a phrase that's usually well-intentioned, and generally well-received - all dependent, of course, upon the severity of the calamity and upon our ability to sell.
But in our more honest moments, chances are, most parents will admit that those words that bring comfort to our children sometimes ring hollow in our own ears. After all, we are adults, we are realists, and we know that despite our best efforts, there are and will continue to be times when everything really isn’t going to be OK. We know deep down that even if we leverage the weight of all of our grown-up knowledge and experience and resources - even then - we are utterly powerless to bend the events and circumstances of the world at large to fit the “perfect life” narratives that we write in our heads for ourselves and for our families. You see, we've crossed over, so to speak - we've passed that necessary, seminal milestone on our respective journeys from adolescence to maturity, the one marked by the awful realization that sometimes adults don’t have all the answers, that sometimes adults are uncertain and afraid, too.
So, what do worldly-wise adults do when their futures look frightening, when they feel trapped by uncertainty and anxiety, when their collective life forecasts are clouded by a 99% chance of heartache and pain? They run to their Heavenly Father, and they allow Him to calm their fears with His promise –
“Everything is going to be OK.”
You see, the difference between earthly parents and our Heavenly Father is that God really does have the power to bend the events and circumstances of the world at large to fit His narrative. We call that ability the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, which is a fancy theological term used to refer to the fact that God is totally in control of all things at all times. And even though we aren’t privy to the day-to-day details of His plan, God has seen fit to pull back the curtain, so to speak, when it comes to the big picture: He has already conquered all of our unconquerable enemies (death, hell, sin, Satan) through the death and resurrection of His Son, and one day all who have rested their faith on Jesus Christ for salvation will enjoy an eternity in His presence in a place where sin will never destroy, where pain will never mar, where death will never separate, where fear will never rob, and where sorrow will never enter. In other words, everything really is going to be OK!
David’s words from Psalm 34:4 provide us with some guidance for embracing God’s promises in times of fear and uncertainty. History tells us that David penned the verses that comprise this Psalm while hiding out in a cave. He was fresh off of an escape from King Achish of Gath, a Philistine king who ruled a Philistine stronghold that David only visited because he was already on the run from his father-in-law, King Saul, who was pursuing him with murderous intent that went far beyond typical in-law family tension. In David's own words, he sought God, God answered him, and God delivered him from all of his fears.
From his fears!
Not from danger, not from his enemies, not from all of his troubles or from all of his problems, but from all of his fears. Seeking God's face and hearing His voice was enough to calm David’s anxious heart and to remind him that even though he was hiding in a cave and on the run from his enemies, everything really was going to be OK. God delivered David from his fears long before He delivered him from his desperate circumstances. There is a lesson here for all who are willing to hear, and it is simply this: Our fears, anxieties, pain, sorrow, trials and tribulations should drive us to seek refuge in our Heavenly Father's presence. There, as we remember His promises and receive comfort through His Spirit and His word, our Heavenly Father will remove our fears and replace them with His peace.
Life is hard. This world can often seem cruel. Even for those who have found repentance, salvation, refuge and hope in Jesus Christ. Aliens and strangers we are, the lot of us. And though God is all-powerful and ever-present, the enemy of our souls is still at work, still practicing his well-honed art of deception. Sin still tempts. Uncertainty still lurks. Fear and anxiety still mock. And chances are great that there are still many weary miles to travel before the journey is done. But we soldier on, armed with our Heavenly Father's promise: Everything really is going to be OK. It's a promise that we can hold on to and trust, because it comes not just on good authority but on the ultimate authority!