Sounds strange. Replacing fear with fear. Yet from someone who was terrified at the possibility of death, David posits the fear of God as the response to our fears and troubles. He writes:
I sought the Lord and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. This poor man cried and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. O fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack.Psalm 34:5,7, 9 (ESV)
This Psalm chronicles David’s near-death experience. On the run from Saul, he runs from trouble to trouble. Thinking the king of Gath will be a hiding place, he arrives only to be discovered and immediately begins to feign insanity to the point of spit running down his beard to throw off his would be assailants. God delivers him and he writes Psalm 34 to thank and praise him.
How do you and I replace our fears with one fear?
- Don’t forget your story, and I’m talking about the time when you were in dire straits and God came through. This doesn’t mean you got the outcome you were looking for. But you can see how God was present. It’s okay (and good!) to repeat that story.
- Don’t forget that you have a God to praise. (So many attributes)
- Discern the difference between fears and troubles. (vs. 5 and 7) Fears are things that could happen. Fears live in the future. Troubles are real and present. To give too much attention to fears leads to paralysis. To ignore troubles leads to more troubles.
- Remind yourself daily of the Gospel. Look at verses 15-20 and remind yourself of this: The Father turned away from his Son on the cross, and as a result the Father looks toward me. The face of the Father was against his Son and, as a result, is for me. The Father did not respond to the cry of his Son on the cross, and as a result he will respond to my cry. The Father was not near to his brokenhearted Son and as a result, today he is be near me.
In other words, fight your fears with one fear, the fear of the Lord. For more on this, read Michael Reeves, Rejoice and Tremble, a great study on the fear of God.
The difference between fear and troubles is key and I never thought of it that way. I like that this perspective brings so much more clarity for daily life.