Summary: What should I do when I’m afraid? 1. Cast your cares upon God. 2. Take refuge in Him. 3. Replace anxiety with thoughts of God. 4. Keep on eye on eternity. 5. Listen to God’s Word.
MAIN IDEA: God’s word provides hope for those who are fearful.
OBJECTIVES: The listener will be encouraged by God’s Word and leave having been given hope for times of fear.
As a child it was my job to take out the trash. Every week from the time I was about 6 years old I had to trudge out to the side of the house and fill up the cans. Though I didn’t really LIKE doing this – most of the time I didn’t mind it – except when it was dark. When it was dark my mind would convince me that something terrible was going to happen to me around the side of the house where no light from the porch came. I was sure Sasquatch was going to nab me. Or perhaps some aliens.
Looking back it seems silly – the fear was unfounded – but the fear was real nonetheless.
This week some much more serious fears have crossed my mind – and I’m sure the minds of many of you.
The words of David in Psalm 55 might have been some of ours this week:
1 Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
2 hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
3 at the voice of the enemy,
at the stares of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering upon me
and revile me in their anger.
4 My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death assail me.
5 Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
6 I said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest-
7 I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm."
Had to change my plan this week. Departing from Luke to deal with something that is in everyone’s minds. Fear.
I was reminded that I don’t know what to say – but God does! His word is sufficient for us in every situation we face, and this war with Iraq is no exception, whether you have a close family member involved, or simply know people that are involved. God does not want us to be fearful. And His word provides the antidote for fear.
QUESTION: What can I do when I feel fearful?
1. Cast your burdens on the Lord. (Ps. 55:22)
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (NIV)
I’m no fisherman – but I do know what it means to cast something. It means to hurl it away from you using force. You grab that pole and you swing it hard so the hook goes far from you.
But where are we supposed to hurl our cares? To the only one who can handle them. The LORD.
And what will happen if we do this? The promise is HE WILL SUSTAIN YOU. He will hold you up. He will keep you in place. He will make sure you have the nourishment you need.
2. Take refuge in Him. (Ps. 27:1-5, 32:6-7, 34:7-8)
1 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?
2 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.
5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
Here David reminds us that we have a safe place to go when we feel fearful. He describes the Lord as our LIGHT, our SALVATION, and our STRONGHOLD.
And he describes what he has decided to do when fear strikes – he’s going to remember he has a safe place to go.
ILLUS: Soccer games as a youth in the pouring rain. Halftime we’d run to the sideline where our parents were waiting with our warm, dry coats, and a shelter of umbrellas. And for a few minutes – we were safe.
David says, in the day of trouble God will keep us safe if we take refuge in Him.
Psalm 32:6-7 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.