Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 15, 2020

Trusting God Through Fear

“When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me” Psalm 56:3-4

These verses from David, as he was on the run from King Saul’s murderous pursuit, may seem contradictory at first glance. He basically says, “When I’m afraid, I won’t be afraid.” Huh?

Let’s start with the comforting thought that even David—a man after God’s own heart—uses the word “when” here. He acknowledges that he has been, is, and will be afraid. This from a man who killed bears and lions as a young shepherd boy, took down a giant with a stone and slingshot, and victoriously battled enemy after enemy throughout his life. David didn’t seem to be afraid of very much.

In the context of this Psalm, though, the current king, Saul, wants David dead because he knows David will take his throne. As Saul and his armies are chasing him, David feels the heat. He knows he’s just one step ahead of Saul, and he hears the word on the street—the lies about him, the traps being set for him, the oppression, the eagerness for his demise.

And he is afraid.

But, because he has trusted the Lord throughout his life, because he knows and loves God’s word, David has a solid foundation on which he can stand. He has experienced the fact that God is for him (v 9). The Lord has protected him and delivered him in the past (v13), so David knows that God’s promises to him are true. Moreover, in verse 8, David describes how God has walked with him through his wanderings and trials, collecting his tears through sorrow and pain.

And he’s still afraid—and that’s OK! In fact, the seemingly contradictory part in verse 4—“I shall not be afraid”—is not saying that David won’t experience fear. David’s saying that when he is afraid, he’ll use it as a prompt to recall, “I trust You, Lord, and trust Your word!” He is saying, “In my fear, I don’t have to be afraid.” (I picture him hiding out, perhaps in one of his many on-the-run cave dwellings, shaking in his sandals and repeating to himself in prayer, “I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid.”)

What a great reminder for us all. In this life, we all have battles and trials (John 16:33). We may, like David, even have people twisting our words and setting traps for us—eager for our downfall. And although we may not have someone pursuing our very life, every believer has a real enemy of our soul who wants us to live in discouragement, distress, and fear.

But God. God is praiseworthy, faithful, true. His word is trustworthy. We need to look back on His blessings and recall how He’s carried us through previous storms. Let’s recognize that we have not shed a single tear that God has not caught and collected. And, by putting our faith in Jesus, we can also look ahead to His promise of eternal hope. Regardless of how daunting our circumstances are today, our ultimate future as believers is fear-free.

“Lord, when I am afraid, I will trust in You…and I will stand firm on the foundation of Your truth—Your Word—to recall that You have a hold on me. What can mere man—or Satan—do to me?”

For His Glory

Julianne Winkler Smith
TRBC Women’s Life


  1. Really love this, Julianne; thank you for posting!

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