Of whom shall I be afraid? (v. 1). The psalmist assumes the answer to this will be, “No one! Nothing!” The writer’s strong faith is confi- dent in God’s protection, unwavering despite enduring threats. Yet, throughout the biblical story fear remains a stubborn enemy of faith. How often heavenly messengers say the equivalent of “Stop fearing!”
Fear haunts us from our early years until we draw our final
breath. The antidote to our fears is faith. We teach our children
to pray: “When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (from Ps 56:3). But
choosing faith over fear remains difficult for all of us.
Late one night when our son was young, a serious storm filled
with lightning and thunder swept over our house. I heard him
scream, “I’m scared,” and went to crawl into his bed with him. The
storm passed, but his fear lingered. When I thought he was asleep,
I quietly began to ease out of his bed to return to my own. As my
feet touched the floor, I heard him call: “Daddy, is your face turned
In our turbulent time, many of us would answer the psalmist’s
question with a growing list of what makes us fearful. The pandemic,
war, civil unrest, turbulent weather, and economic uncertainty
makes many of our lists. We seek to share the psalmist’s assurance
that indeed God’s face is turned toward us. Reflect on these images
of God that the psalmist proclaims out of a confident faith that
has nothing to fear. God is the psalmist’s “stronghold” (v. 1) and
“shelter” (v. 5). God who delivers us is this writer’s “light” (v. 1). Even
surrounded by trouble, how can the poet keep from singing? How
can we join in the song?
Sing hymns and songs that have sustained the Church in fearful times, like “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” and others.
God, my help and hope, calm my fears and assure me of your protective presence in times of stress. Amen.