Do you feel overwhelmed by fear? We may learn something from the experience of David, who was the target of King Saul's murderous wrath. Read this excerpt from Craig Groeschel's Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World. -Adam Forrest, Zondervan
It's easy to look at [David's] situation and think, "Wow... It must've been really hard for David to have [King Saul] put a death warrant on him." But if we put ourselves in David's sandals for a moment, it becomes downright horrific.
For me, it's like the president of the United States telling the CIA, the FBI, and the entire military, "Go get me that crazy Christian guy, Craig Groeschel. I want his sorry carcass, dead or alive." ... Wherever you live, imagine that the most powerful leader in your nation issued that command about you. Imagine that every force in the country is out scouring the countryside for you, interrogating your friends and your family, hot on your trail. You can't go to any public places. You're always looking over your shoulder.
This nightmare was the reality of David's life. No matter where he went, he couldn't escape his knowledge that the most powerful man in Israel wanted him dead. In Psalm 56:1–4, we get a glimpse not only into his ordeal but into how he faced it: "My enemies are in hot pursuit ... My adversaries pursue me all day long; in their pride many are attacking me. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise — in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?" (emphasis mine).
David clearly was overwhelmed and perhaps even terrified. But he just called it like it was, being honest with God... You can do the same thing David did. It's okay to admit that you're afraid. Name your fears. Just say, "Here's what's happening, God. Here's what I'm afraid of":
"I'm afraid my spouse might be having an affair."
"I'm afraid one of my kids might get a terminal disease."
"I'm afraid my best friend might betray me."
"I'm afraid my business might go under next year."
Say it over and over... 'I'm choosing to trust in you, God. Because of you, I'm choosing not to be afraid.'
Then follow that with what David did. "But even though I'm afraid, God, I'm choosing to trust in you." Take it just as far as David did. Say it aloud. Write it down. Rehearse it. Refer to it to remind yourself. Say it over and over: "I believe your Word, God. I'm choosing to trust in you, God. Because of you, I'm choosing not to be afraid."
Examining this passage further, notice the last thing David says here: "What can mere mortals do to me?" Well, let's answer that question. Honestly, what could mortal men have done to him? Well, for starters, they could have killed him! Perhaps even worse, mortal men could have captured him, tortured him, imprisoned him, and made the rest of his life miserable. These all sound pretty horrible.
So if all that's true, then how was David able to overcome his fears? By refocusing his view of the problem, shifting his fear-fueled thoughts from the temporary, earthly point of view to an eternal perspective. By stepping back and viewing his fear from a more comprehensive perspective, David could say, "You know what? Even if my worst what-ifs come to pass, if I still choose to trust God, no one can do anything that hurts me eternally. Nothing." Suddenly his worst what-if paled in comparison with the goodness and faithfulness of God.
The farther away I get from God, the more the what-ifs of this world begin to pile on, trying to suffocate me with fear.
What about you? What's your greatest fear? Can you choose to trust God with it? Be as honest with yourself as you can. This is really important. In my experience, the farther away I get from God, the more the what-ifs of this world begin to pile on, trying to suffocate me with fear. But the closer I am to God, the more I'm able to trust him, and the less hold the things of this world have on me. Choose. Tell God what it is you're afraid of. Then trust him no matter what.
- Craig Groeschel
Learn more about Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World.
(Some styling above is web-exclusive and not included in the text of Soul Detox.This post does not represent the views of Zondervan or any of its partners or representatives. The writer's personal opinions are shared only for information purposes. To receive new Zondervan Blog posts in your reader or email inbox, subscribe to Zondervan Blog.)