Psalm 27:1-4 (NRSV) Do Not Fear
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?
When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
they shall stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
One thing I asked of the Lord;
this I seek:
to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in his temple.
Christ died on the cross for us, therefore we do not have to be afraid. That is a phrase that is said to the congregation quite often at our church. When I think of the word “fear” I think of sweaty palms, shortness of breath, heart racing, and an overall state of panic. However, as I thought more about fear’s complexities, I thought about how sometimes fear can be more subtle— quietly looming in the background of our minds throughout our daily lives.
That’s how I feel fear is at work in our interactions with other people. No matter how hard we try to avoid it, we all have this feeling of wanting to be well-liked by other people. We are subconsciously afraid of not fitting in with those around us. And when we feel like someone doesn’t like us, a little part of us is overcome by that sweaty palms, state-of-panic feeling.
However, this psalm tells us that God isthe “stronghold” of our lives, and therefore “whom shall [we] fear?” The word whom in that statement is important,as it further proves that our natural fear of public opinion is universal. God knows that we all inherently have this feeling, and while we may feel beaten down or insecure by it, God calls us to “be confident,” as written in verse 3. Therefore, because Jesus Christ died on the cross for us, we can be confident in being our true selves, and we do not have to be afraid of other’s opinions of us.
Holy God thank you for this Lenten season of repentance and self-reflection. As we go throughout our days, let us be reminded that we can be confident in who we are because of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, and that we do not need to be afraid of the opinions of those around us. While this is definitely easier said than done, help us to try our very best to be secure in this truth, and to keep our heads held high as we engage in our own communities and social circles and “wait for the Lord” this Easter. In your name we pray, Amen.