Times of crisis have a way of escalating our struggle with anxiety, sometimes raising it to the level of panic, and making it seem impossible for us to respond in a righteous way. What can we do when debilitating fear threatens our peace of mind and heart? Psalm 27 gives encouraging, faith-building counsel as it shows how King David responded to crises in his own life.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? . . . One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. (Ps. 27:1, 4)
As King David’s enemies increased, so did his anxiety. Three times in the opening verses of this psalm he confesses to being afraid (see vv. 1–3). At least six times in the whole of the psalm he identifies the basis of his fear: evildoers, adversaries, armies at war, enemies, and false witnesses (see vv. 2, 3, 6, 12). Yet rather than responding with sin, David responds in a righteous manner, with a heart that is strengthened by God-centered faith. He turns to his only help and cries out to God (see v. 7). He fights fear with confidence in God as his defender.
How did he do this? What can we learn from his example?
Faith cripples the power of fear by reminding us of the right-now presence of the Lord (v. 1).
David reminds himself that “the Lord is my light and my salvation” and that “the Lord is the stronghold of my life.” In fear’s grip, biblical faith doesn’t look only to promises of future deliverance but to assurances of present protection. While being persecuted by enemies, David says, “God is here with me. In him I will put my trust. He is my protection.”
Faith cripples the power of our fear when our focus and affection become singular in the Lord (v. 4).
David deliberately turns the eyes of his heart away from real-life fears and toward his one, undying passion—to live in the real-time presence of the Lord. David seeks, “all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.” As it was with David, so it can be with us. Gazing on the beauty of the Lord will rightly align our affections, enliven our faith, and alleviate our fears. Do you have that same singular longing—to seek after the Lord? Or does anxiety distract you from the Lord?
Faith is powerful, isn’t it? It helps us to fight our fears as we find our confidence in the Lord.
[Adapted from the 31-Day Devotional for Life book Anxiety: Knowing God’s Peace]