Complete trust in God isn’t the absence of fear. Trust in God means that though fear may be present, there is no uncertainty about who He is. The clarity that comes from defining exactly who God is to each of us as individuals is what gives us the courage to face the unknown on the journey ahead of us. And the best way to define who God is to us is by recalling who He has been to us.
David was just a teenager when he fought and killed Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.
Men far older and more experienced than him trembled at the sight of the giant, intimidated by his stature. However, the only thing David saw when he looked at him was an idol-worshiping barbarian that had no reverence for God or His people. And because he knew that his God was the only true God, he knew Goliath didn’t stand a chance against him.
When Goliath threatened to kill David and feed his flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, the words David uttered showed where his confidence lay:
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands… This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”(1 Samuel 17:45-47)
Having killed both a lion and a bear with his bare hands, David knew God as a God that could give him inconceivable strength, when necessary, in order to accomplish the task at hand. This is what enabled him to stand boldly before a man that even great men of war dreaded.
Don’t be fooled, though. Although David was courageous and had a trust in his Father that is difficult to emulate, that doesn’t mean he was unfamiliar with fear. His life was under threat many times but it was his faith in God that helped him keep his head on his shoulders.
Psalm 56:1-4, 9, written by David, reads:
“O God, have mercy on me,
for people are hounding me.
My foes attack me all day long.
I am constantly hounded by those who slander me,
and many are boldly attacking me.
But when I am afraid,
I will put my trust in you…
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?…
My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
This I know: God is on my side!”
I’d like to provide the New King James Version of verse 9 as it more clearly exhibits David’s confidence in God:
“When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.”
The certainty with which David proclaims this does something to me every time I read that verse. It leaves the page and nestles itself into my spirit, reviving my faith and confidence in the fact that God is for me.
We have to state this with a level of conviction that is unapologetic not about what it thinks but about what it absolutely knows.
On January 9, 2020, after 7 years of going from place to place with no destination in mind – and essentially going in circles – God let me know that I had reached the end of the period of my life in which I would operate in His permissive will and I was now moving into His perfect will. He had let me know months before that this transition was on the horizon but it was on that day that I crossed over from one to the other.
Now a month later, I look back and I have to say that things haven’t quite been what I expected. I guess I thought doors would suddenly open with very little effort on my part. I thought all of the things that I’ve been praying for would fall into my lap. But instead what I’ve been presented with is bandwidth and opportunity. He has freed me up to do all of the growing that He is requiring me to do in this season and, just this morning, He let me know that rather than giving me the fully grown fruit-bearing trees that I expected to see in this place, He has instead given me the seeds to plant those fruit-bearing trees myself.
I openly acknowledge that there are a lot of things I don’t quite understand about my life right now but one thing I do know: because I have in previous seasons known him to be a loving Father that has my best interest at heart and has, on many occasions, exceeded my expectations, I just know that God is for me.
When David was called out of Bethlehem into Saul’s palace to serve as his armor bearer, knowing that he was to be Israel’s next king, I highly doubt he knew that he’d find himself constantly fleeing death at the hands of the current king. I’m sure he envisioned a smooth transition from shepherd boy to royalty. But while he was running from mountain to mountain and cave to cave, he continued to remember who was right there beside him.
In looking around at our circumstances we may find that things don’t quite look the way that we expected them to but we must know that so long as we have completely surrendered to God and the plans He has for our lives, all things are still working together for our good. In reflecting on who God has been to us in the past, we can allow that to bring to our remembrance who He is to us now. It is this knowledge – this certainty – that puts our fears and doubts at ease.