Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Psalm 34:4-7 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Look to him, and be radiant;
so your[a] faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
and was saved from every trouble.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
One of my favorite stories about fear was told by Molly Ivins. It is the story of two little boys in East Texas: John Henry Falk and Boots Cooper. In their games they were Texas Rangers, so John Henry’s mother sent them down to the chicken house to rout out a snake that had been doing considerable damage there.
They mounted their trusted steeds (broomstick horses) and galloped down to the chicken house to investigate. They looked all around the nests on the bottom shelf but could not find a snake. Then they stood on tiptoe to see the upper shelf and found themselves face to face with a big ol’ chicken snake. They were so scared that they both tried to run out of the hen house at the same time, doing considerable damage both to themselves and to it.
Watching the commotion from the front porch, Mrs. Falk could not help but laugh. When the boys finally made it back to the house, she said, “Boys, what is wrong with you? You know perfectly well a chicken snake can’t hurt you.”
One of the little boys said, “Yes, ma’am, but there’s some things’ll scare you so bad, you hurt yourself.”
Fear can really hurt us, and the Psalmist’s experience of prayer is deliverance from fears. During these times when there is much of which to be afraid, fear can grip us and make us do things we otherwise would not do or freeze us so that we do not do what we need to do. May we pray for deliverance from our fears and deliverance from the fears that pervade our society.
There is a lot of theology woven into hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “Give to the Winds Thy Fears”. I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul.
Give to the winds thy fears;
hope and be undismayed.
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears,
God shall lift up thy head.
Through waves and clouds and storms,
God gently clears the way;
wait thou God’s time; so shall this night
soon end in joyous day.
Leave to God’s sovereign sway
to choose and to command;
so shalt thou, wondering, own that way,
how wise, how strong this hand.
Let us in life, in death,
thy steadfast truth declare,
and publish with our latest breath
thy love and guardian care.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster