I don’t know about you but “sure and fearless” doesn’t necessarily describe me these days.
I’m not sleeping particularly well.
I try to avoid all but the most needful news and instead fill my days with useful work and outdoor activity.
But I wouldn’t be honest if I said it was working.
In fact, the combination of time of year (I am rapidly approaching the sixth anniversary of Dominic’s death) and the utterly unbelievable changes in the world around us is more than working my nerves.
So I’m really, really depending on the truth I find in Scripture to counteract all the other messages I’m receiving from the media, from friends and from my own unhelpful thoughts.
That’s why I’m spending some quality time with the first three verses of Psalm 46.
God is our shelter and our strength.
When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help.
So why run and hide?
2 No fear, no pacing, no biting fingernails.
When the earth spins out of control, we are sure and fearless.
When mountains crumble and the waters run wild, we are sure and fearless.
3 Even in heavy winds and huge waves,
or as mountains shake, we are sure and fearless.Psalm 46: 1-3 VOICE
The verses stand by themselves as a source of great encouragement, but I thought today I’d walk you through one way I appropriate the truth of God’s Word for my own heart.
I often copy out a verse and use a dictionary or thesaurus to expand key words so I get a richer understanding of their full meaning.
Sometimes I include parts of other verses or pertinent biblical concepts.
Doing that for Psalm 46: 1-3 looks like this:
VERSE 1: ” God is our shelter [sanctuary, refuge, safety, defense, hideaway] and our strength [courage, fortitude, stability, vitality, steadiness]. When troubles seem near, God is nearer [the Holy Spirit is our Paraclete or Advocate, Counselor; Jesus said He would never leave us nor forsake us] so why run and hide? [If God is for us, who could stand against us?]”
VERSE 2: “No fear, no pacing, no biting fingernails [what time I am afraid, I will trust in You]. When the earth spins out of control [the world is surely out of control right now!], we [those who trust in the LORD] are sure [confident, certain, convinced, free from doubt] and fearless [bold, confident, courageous, daring, assured, dauntless, lionhearted, indomitable].
When mountains crumble [when the very thing we believe will never be shaken IS shaken] and the waters run wild [when there’s no safe haven from a flood of circumstances], we [those who trust in the LORD] are sure [confident, certain, convinced, free from doubt] and fearless [bold, confident, courageous, daring, assured, dauntless, lionhearted, indomitable].”
VERSE 3: “Even in heavy winds and huge waves [even when the the storm is raging so violently there seems no possible way to survive it], we [those who trust in the LORD] are sure [resting absolutely in the certainty that God is who He says He is] and fearless [boldly and confidently waiting for the promised Presence of God in the midst of our storm].”
Rewriting it once again and personalizing it for myself looks like this:
God is my sanctuary and safe place and my courage. No matter what kind of trouble is lurking at my door, He’s already here, right beside me, ready to help. Why would I run away or try to hide when my Protector is unbeatable?
I refuse to worry. The world is definitely a strange and very fearful place right now but because I belong to Jesus I am confident and courageous. Even though all the things I depend on in the natural world are proving undependable, because I trust in the Lord, I am bold and dauntless.
The current economic, social, and political storm is the biggest I’ve ever seen-bigger than I could have ever imagined. Its destructive power is far-reaching and will leave debris in its wake for years.
But I will rest confidently in my Savior and will wait courageously for His promises to be fulfilled.
Then I turn it into a prayer:
Help me always to remember that You are my sanctuary and hiding place. You are as near as my breath, as steady as my heartbeat. No one and nothing sneaks up on You.
Whisper courage to my soul. Lord, sweep worry out of my mind. Even when every single thing I thought I could depend on proves undependable, teach me to rest securely in Your love, Your promises and Your sovereignty.
Redirect my gaze so that instead of looking at all that’s going wrong, my eyes focus on Your face.
Make my heart steadfast. Overwhelm me with Your mercy, grace and faithful love.
- This is MY way of making Scripture personal. Do you have a way to make it personal for you? Can you take these three verses and do just that?
- Have you ever looked up a word you thought you knew the meaning of only to find out you had misunderstood or not fully comprehended it precisely? I have! How can using a dictionary or thesaurus open up or expand the meaning of words? How can that help you understand what verses say?
- Illustrating verses is another way many people appropriate Truth for themselves. How could you put the meat of these verses into a sketch?
- One of the reasons I love journaling is because when I look back, I have a written record of God’s very specific faithfulness to me. Have you journaled before? If so, look back and note God’s faithfulness. Write a personal psalm of thanksgiving in response.
- Do you feel the earth shaking right now? What is your greatest fear as a result? How do these verses encourage your heart?