22 March 2010

Whenever I Am Afraid

A few years ago, I heard the late beloved Franklin Camp deliver a moving sermon as one of the speakers on the Faulkner University Lectureship. I believe the theme of the lectureship that year was, “Blessed Assurance”. Brother Camp was referring to various passages of scriptures that had sustained him over the years. He also related that in the month of May, 1981, he learned that he had to have open-heart surgery. He said that he had to wait twelve days before he could have surgery. While lying on a hospital bed for that length of time, he thought of the great seriousness of this type of surgery. He admitted that he was afraid, realizing the seriousness of the kind of surgery. He then thought of Psalms 56 that was written by David during a very trying time in his life. David had to flee from the presence of Saul who sought to kill him and he also had to deal with the Philistines who wanted him dead. In this particular psalm, David is seeking the help of God to deliver him from those who sought his life. In verses 3 and 4, David writes, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” Again, in verses 10 and 11, “In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Brother Camp noted that David was a strong man, having killed a lion and a bear while protecting his sheep and had killed Goliath the giant (I Samuel 17). Yet, David said that he was afraid. Brother Camp said that if David could be afraid, so could he. But, the encouragement is to be found in the statement, “In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid.” Please note that there seemed to have been a progression from verse 3 when David said “I will trust in You” to verse 11 when he declared “In God have put my trust”. As I listened to this great man of God confess his fear along with David’s, I thought to myself, if David and brother Camp could be afraid at times, surely I could also be afraid in certain circumstances.

But, David said that he trusted in God when he was afraid. And, that trust in the Lord will calm the troubled soul. The word trust is mentioned 74 times in the book of Psalm and carries the idea of leaning on and trusting in someone; to have implicit faith and full confidence in another. In Psalm 46:1 we have these beautiful words, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble…” Again David exclaimed, “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by” (Psalm 57:1). Recently, two of our dear Christian lady friends were diagnosed with breast cancer. The ‘C’ word does not need defining. It is one word that brings fear to our very souls. This passage in Psalm is one that I encourage these ladies and others to read and meditate on and do as David did: “In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word)” (Psalm 56:4, 10). Our Father has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Go to Him in prayer and leave there your every care and He will uphold you with His everlasting arms.

“The LORD is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices;
And with my song will I praise Him.”

Psalms 28:7

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