Gilland: Facing fears that rise within

Boy and lamb

The fact that I love the Psalms has been well-established in this space in previous columns. This original “songbook” for Israel is full of glimpses of real-life experiences, both the happy and joyous ones, as well as those “dark night of the soul” seasons where we feel alone and afraid. 

The Bible is real like that, not presenting only polished, “ivory tower” representations of serving God. Nope, real emotions, real people, and real problems. It’s all there.

A leading character in the Psalms is King David, who himself was a psalmist and a musician. He may well have perfected his musical craft before a huge audience of… sheep. 

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That is how he spent a lot of his early years, as a faithful shepherd of his father’s flock. In those times, he spent hours upon hours alone, with no human companion. 

The Bible has ample evidence that in those nights, when he wasn’t defending the flock against predators (killing a lion and a bear are mentioned later in David’s life), he spent many times gazing at the heavens, trying to contemplate the greatness of God. 

Some of those thoughts are captured in this book, such as in Psalm 8, where David states:

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

Psalm 8:1-4 (ESV)

David’s confidence in God was so great that, when sent to take supplies to his older brothers who were on the front lines of battle against the Philistines, he stood out among all Israel in defying the giant Goliath, who was taunting not only the Israelites, but their God.

But David was also familiar with the depression and darkness of the soul. In Ps. 3, David was being chased by, of all people, his own son Absalom, and his words in that chapter give us insight into his state of mind. 

David cried out, “…many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no salvation for him in God.’ But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head” (Ps. 3:2-3 ESV). 

David’s life included high highs and the lowest of lows. But in the end, his faith and trust in the Lord won the day.

Whatever it is that we are facing, we too can respond in like fashion, looking upward and calling out to the God who made the heavens and the earth.

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This was a bright and encouraging start to my busy week. I appreciate this so much and I am refreshed by this reminder. Thank you for your faithful teaching of God’s Word!

Mike Gilland

Thank you, Mikayla! I appreciate your feedback, and may God bless you.