January 14

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
PSALM 23:4

Fear engages an ongoing assault on our heart and mind. If left unchecked fear can whip our imagination into a frenzy of anxiety. Though only an ounce of whatever we fear may come to pass, we tend to give it a ton of attention. It’s madness when we’re overcome by fear. It may be fear of death that dilutes our faith. It may be fear of failure that drives us to control. It may be fear of losing a job that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We’re not alone in our fears. Jesus walks with us through our valleys. He may not deliver us out of the valley, but He most assuredly never abandons us there. He walks with us through the valley of doubt. He walks with us through the valley of shame. He walks with us through the valley of transition. He walks with us through the valley of disease. He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death. A shadow assumes a light, so Christ is there to guide us. Trust overcomes fear.

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, who does not look to the proud” (Psalm 40:4).

Pain can create insecurity and confusion. But no amount of pain can separate us from the love of God. Pain may smother our soul, but we don’t give up on God. We immerse ourselves in the psalms where David sometimes drowns in doubt, but by faith wisely lifts his soul to the Lord.
No one suffers well alone. Through the prayers of others, it’s by the Almighty’s help that we make it through.
Go to Christ for comfort. He draws us close with His rod and His staff. He heals our crushed heart with His caring touch. When we stray like lost sheep, He doesn’t give up on us; rather, He goes after us.
Love isn’t passive. It initiates contact, comfort, and connection. Love helps us make sense out of a senseless situation. The Holy Spirit brings clarity to our confusion, so we saturate our soul with truth, which flushes out our fears. Trust in the Lord overcomes fear!

“‘Where is your faith?’ he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him’” (Luke 8:25).
What fear do I need to replace with trust in the Lord? How do faith and obedience relate?

Related Readings
Isaiah 51:3; John 12:42; 20:19-21; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Hebrews 2:14-15

By Rev. Michael Mayer

Lutheran Pastor of two small Lutheran Churches in rural SW Ontario.