I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.
Today’s Scripture: 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 John Henry Faulk shortly before his death in 1990 in an interview with Bill Moyers. John Henry and his friend Boots Cooper were playing in the chicken house behind their homes in Central Texas when they were about 12 years old. They spied a chicken snake in the top tier of nests, so close it looked like a boa constrictor.
As John Henry told it, “All our frontier courage drained out of our heels – actually, it tricked down our overall legs – and Boots and I made a new door through the henhouse wall.”
John Henry’s mama came out and, learning what all the fuss was about, said to the boys “Don’t you know chicken snakes are harmless? They can’t hurt you!”
And Boots, rubbing his forehead and behind at the same time, said, “Yes, Mrs. Faulk, I know that, but they can scare you so bad, it’ll cause you to hurt yourself.” (https://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/test_blogs/2007/08/what_adam_said_to_eve.html)
Fear can really hurt us, and the Psalmist’s experience of prayer is deliverance from fears.
During 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.
Hymn: “Give to the Winds Thy Fears”
by Paul Gerhardt (1653); translated by John Wesley (1739)
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,
He gently clears the way;
wait thou His time, so shall this night
soon end in joyous day.
Still heavy is thy heart,
still sink thy spirits down?
Cast off the weight, let fear depart,
and ev’ry care be gone.
What though thou rulest not,
yet heav’n, and earth, and hell
proclaim, God sitteth on the throne,
and ruleth all things well.
Leave to His sov’reign sway
to choose and to command,
so shalt thou wond’ring own His way,
how wise, how strong His hand!
Far, far above thy thought
His counsel shall appear,
when fully He the work hath wrought,
that caused thy needless fear.
Thou seest our weakness, Lord,
our hearts are known to Thee;
O lift Thou up the sinking heart,
confirm the feeble knee.
Let us in life, in death,
Thy steadfast truth declare,
and publish with our latest breath
Thy love and guardian care.
Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture. I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster