“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.” (Psalm 56:3-4)
In 1945, General George Patton was pushing through Nazi-occupied territory, liberating one village after another. At one point he spotted a 17-year-old private perched on top of a tree, stringing up communications lines while German Messerschmitts fired on the allied positions around him. Patton approached, looked up, and said, “Son, if only I had an army of you. You’re not afraid of anything.” The private replied, “Yes, I am, sir.” When Patton asked what he was afraid of, the lad said, “You, sir.”
It can feel as if there is much in our world to be fearful of at the moment: natural disasters, the terror threat, economic uncertainties, political chaos, and more. But it has been said that those who fear the Lord – in the sense of joyfully recognising his awesome power and glory – need fear nothing else. To know God, and to know ourselves forgiven and reconciled to him through the death and resurrection of Jesus, provides a security which can endure all threat.
The setting for Psalm 56 is that David, the future king of Israel, has been seized by his enemies and is in mortal peril. And yet he is a man who trusts in God, and that trust changes everything. It enables him to make the amazing statement: “When I am afraid, I shall not be afraid!”
Rev. Andrew Randall
Grace Church, Larbert