I was lying beside my little daughter the other night, trying to calm her fears. Lately, it seems that the entire family erupts into tears at bedtime because of fears! I have my doubts that all the fears are genuine, but what is a dad to do?
Would you believe that in the five- and-under category in our family, bears are the number one fear? We live in Los Angeles, which isn’t exactly woods, and we fear the bears! There may be scary things here in the city, but bears certainly shouldn’t be on that list!
Why do they fear? As a dad, how do I help my little ones lie down in peace and realize that a host of angels guards this place?
We have found Scripture-reading and prayer extremely effective. So this particular night, I started off by quoting Psalm 23.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (KJV).
Quietly, I began explaining to my little girl how silly it was to fear things that might happen. I explained that a shepherd will give his life for the sheep, and Jesus is our shepherd. I exhorted her to remember that we are taken care of very well.
I quoted again the part about fearing no evil.“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”
“Thou art with me.” That is when it hit me, and daddy started to cry. While I was patiently explaining to my little girl why she shouldn’t fear the unknown, I was doing exactly that in my own heart! I needed to listen to the profound words of Psalm 23, and to apply in my own heart the teaching I was giving.
Sometimes when I am struggling spiritually, I need the “simple” more than ever. I have made the mistake too often of not comprehending nor applying the simple and familiar.
Today, I was fighting fears over things that might happen in the next weeks, and how life is supposed to work. Today is only the fifth of the month and the bills due today put us in the red for the month.
I was trying to believe the truth about my Shepherd in Psalm 23, but struggled to understand it. When we got home from our day’s activities, my wife brought me the mail with a smile and said, “It never fails honey, when we really need it God sends the money.”
Friends, the Spirit had sent us a check for a thousand dollars. The check arrived on the day we ran out of money, not a day later and not a day before. I was blown away again by this Shepherd we serve!
Fearing that the Shepherd won’t take care of me is every bit as foolish as fearing bears from a secure little bunkbed in the middle of Los Angeles.
May we never forget the simple truth of Psalm 23, and the Shepherd we serve. May we seek the Kingdom of God above all else and leave the details to the Shepherd.
Faith has nothing to do with feelings or with impressions, with improbabilities or with outward experiences. If we desire to couple such things with faith, then we are no longer resting on the Word of God, because faith needs nothing of the kind. Faith rests on the naked Word of God. When we take Him at His Word, the heart is at peace.
God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God's hands as a means. Trials, obstacles, difficulties and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith.
—George Mueller (1805-1898)