Sheltering the Fearful

Monday, Feb 18th, 2013

            The Lenten journey invites reflection in every area of our lives.  As our minister at Prairie Baptist said yesterday, “Of all the liturgical seasons, Lent is the most solitary.  Each must walk the lonesome valley of personal examination by himself or herself.”

            Some of us resist this journey into the wilderness of our hearts because we are fearful of what we will discover.  Most of the time we can allow the busy press of activities to inure us to what may really be dictating our use of time and resources.  Discovering what really controls us may be daunting, and we would prefer not to face this reality.  Yet, this season opens up a space to review our lives with candor.

God's Shelter

            Over and over Scripture encourages us to “fear not.”  This is usually what angels say when they show up with God’s message.  Cringing avoidance of the Holy One will not lead to renewal of heart.  Rather, self-examination accompanied by God’s Spirit will allow us once again to “behold the beauty of the Lord” (Psalm 27:4b).

            Jesus does not enter the lonely place, the dangerous place without the guidance of the Spirit and the ministry of angels.  His strength to withstand temptation arises out of his relationship to the one he trusts fully.  Drawing upon God’s word and his deep sense of vocation, he examines whom he will worship and how he will use power.

            The Second Sunday in Lent employs Psalm 27, a ringing declaration of God’s faithfulness in the time of distress.

            The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

            The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

The cadences of this Psalm remind us that we can face our “enemies”—external or internal—without crushing fear because God will shelter us in the day of trouble and be our companion.  That is how we can resist what would dissuade us from the path of salvation.

            Psalm 27 ends with an exhortation for the faithful to remember that God is ever near, and thus we can persevere until we “see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

            Wait for God—stand tall

                        and let your heart take courage!

            Yes, wait for Our God!

 

Molly T. Marshall

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