Thursday, August 6, 2015

Whenever I'm Afraid

The alternative to living in fear.

When signing a copy of my novel, I include this under my name:
Ps 32:7. It represents a line of code my transhuman protagonist utilizes to protect himself. He soon discovers it’s something more—a verse from the Psalms. One Psalm leads to another, and a hidden computer program emerges.

Of course, programming a transhuman was not God’s plan when He inspired the writers of the Psalms. But it provides an interesting plot twist. My character, Chase Sterling, needs a word from God after the dramatic reboot of his life leaves him in the clutches of hopeless fear. Though at first he doesn’t fully understand it, the verse speaks to him.

 You are my hiding place. You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of  deliverance.  Psalm 32:7

It speaks to me as well. David wrote this Psalm when he experienced true repentance. He perceived the evil inside him and confessed it before God. He accepted forgiveness and rejoiced in God’s mercy. God was his hiding place, the One who protected and delivered him. David wasn’t only set free from guilt and shame, he was established under God’s defense. The same mercy covers me and all who are redeemed.

 The Bible has much to offer on the subject of fear—the good kind and the bad. Good fear isn’t necessarily the kind that teaches a child not to touch a flame. That’s healthy fear. It’s what keeps us from walking into traffic. From standing too close to the edge of a cliff. From playing with fire—literally and figuratively. But from a Biblical view, good fear means fearing God. It can be categorized as awe, respect, and reverence. While these responses to God’s character are appropriate, there’s something about the nature of God I find terrifying. I realize His great power. He can do with me as He pleases, as His wrath demands. Since I’ve come under the protection of His grace, I no longer fear His wrath. However, as His child I do consider His discipline. Not that I’m paralyzed by thoughts of what He might to do to me. He’s a loving Father. But a note of warning to those who deny the message of the Gospel—be very afraid.

 But I shall show you whom you should fear; fear Him, who after He has killed, has the power to cast into hell. Yes, I say to you, fear Him! Luke 12:5

The bad kind of fear, whether suffered by the believer or the person giving no thought to God, is a stronghold of Satan. In its grip, there appears to be no hope. Sometimes my overactive imagination causes all kinds of fear to override my grounded-in-Christ stability. It’s the same terror filling the hearts and minds of everybody. We’re not so different in this. I worry like any wife, mother, daughter, or friend. I fear stupid things. Unrealistic things. Real things I can’t control. But then God reminds me I’m not lost to fear. And He comes  for me, bringing hope and promise.

 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15

Many verses addressing fear seem to give a direct command: Fear not. But how can a fearful person just stop being afraid? Somebody has to come up with a better alternative. The simple words of Jesus offer such an option.
Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mark 5:36

No, it’s not that easy. It can only happen by the power of the greatly feared, perfectly loving God.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear… I John 4:18

In my second novel, the story of the transhuman with a code from the Psalms in his techno-brain continues. Chase struggles to let go of his fear. He finds a verse inscribed in an odd place, ponders it, and believes it. And so I’ll sign the next book with this under my name: Ps 56:3. It’s not a code—just an assurance that while fear may torment us, it doesn’t have to define us.

                   Whenever I’m afraid, I will trust in You. Psalm 56:3

1 comment:

  1. You posted some of my favorite verses. May fear never define us as we trust in Him. Keep writing!