When you face fear, be still

One night, when American civil rights leader Martin Luther King picked up the phone, a voice thundered, “You Nigger. We are tired of you and your mess now. And if you aren’t out of this town in three days, we’re going to blow your brains out and blow up your house.”

Luther recalls how he trembled with fear. He wrote how at that moment he bowed down in prayer, “Lord, I’m down here trying to do what’s right. I think I’m right. I think the cause we represent is right. But Lord, I must confess that I’m weak now. I’m faltering. I’m losing my courage.” An inner voice filled him with a courage he had never known before.

Three nights later, a bomb exploded near his residence. His family escaped unhurt. Luther continued to face humiliation, false accusations, beatings, imprisonments and death threats, but his immense faith in God ultimately helped achieve for the ‘black Americans’ a dignity the world still remembers.

Our fears could be many. Fear of the present, fear of the future. There could be fears about our health, our career, our finances, fear in our relationships or fear from what people do to us by hurling invectives, false accusations, slander, character assassination, revenge and even fear of impending death in various forms.

In all these circumstances, the Lord wants us to respond in a way that sounds strange and challenging. The Lord says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Being ‘still’ means ceasing to grapple with your fears and let God work in on you, laying your human powers and intelligence to rest and acknowledging that God is far more powerful that all the armies of fear that encamp around you.

The Psalmist’s unflinching faith made him stand still. He sings, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life” (Psalm 27:1). He sings of courage even against an army of people against him.

“Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, in this I will be confident” (Psalm 27:3).

John Newton scripted one of the most beautiful hymns ‘Amazing Grace’ sung in churches for over two centuries.  He was abandoned to a slave-trader. ‘Pegasus’ a slave-ship he served on, was threatened by a severe storm. He prayed fervently..  They sailed back to safety. Two verses of the hymn read “Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come, its Grace that brought me safe thus far and Grace will lead me home. The Lord has promised good to me, His woes my hope secures, He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures”.
When fear encounters you, be still.

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