“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10
Fear is an emotion universal to humanity. It is often seen as the first emotion we experience as newborn babies. Sometimes fear lasts only for a few seconds, such as when we see the deer in the road and swerve to avoid it and the cars in the other lane. Sometimes it is long lasting, such as when we try to find a job to pay our bills but are unsuccessful. Sometimes the source of our fear is unknown, we just walk around with a constant sense of dread or fear of the unknown.
The short-term answer to our fears is to bring them to God through prayer. In prayer we remind ourselves that God is “a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head. I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain” (Psalm 3:3-4). We know that God, as our shield, will protect us. We know that God, as our glory, is the one on whom our identity is built. We need not fear the loss of any status symbol because our identity is not sustained by them, but by Him. These are vital short-term answers and comforts for us in times of great fear. But does it end there? Absolutely not.
God also has a long-term answer for our fears. We find it in Psalm 46. You can feel the echoes of Psalm 3 in the opening verses of Psalm 46. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…” “Refuge” echoes “shield” and “strength echoes glory.” Because of these facts, we need not fear. The Psalm goes on from there.
One of the most quoted verses of the entire Bible is found in Psalm 46. Unfortunately, usually only the first part of verse 10 is quoted: “Be still and know that I am God.” Now this is an amazing truth, and has served to comfort people throughout the centuries that God is still God, no matter how turbulent our circumstances become. But the long-term answer to fear, the reason we can be still and know, is the second part of the verse: “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Exalt means “to lift up” or “to raise.” God is saying he will be lifted up by all nations. There will be a day when God’s victory over evil is celebrated throughout the world. This is the fulfillment of the Great Commission, to make disciples (worshippers, followers of Jesus) of all nations. God’s final triumph is secure and certain. Now what does that have to do with our fears?
God’s long-term answer to our fears is God Himself. We can go to him with our fears, knowing that no matter what, he is still God. There is nothing we fear that is greater than God. God is greater than any medical crisis, any financial woe, or any relational conflict. He is bigger than broken marriages, runaway children, and failed businesses. He alone can soothe our fears of loneliness, depression, and inadequacy. When you feel gripped by fear, turn to God. When fear grips you, you can rest in Jesus. He has already won the day through the cross and resurrection. His final victory is sure. Take your fears to him. He will embrace you with open arms, and will give you rest for your soul.