The Upper Room Devotion for Wednesday, November 1, 2023, was written by Linda Coggin of British Columbia, Canada.
1 Be gracious to me, O God, for people trample on me; all day long foes oppress me; 2 my enemies trample on me all day long, or many fight against me. O Most High, 3 when I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I am not afraid; what can flesh do to me? 5 All day long they seek to injure my cause; all their thoughts are against me for evil. 6 They stir up strife, they lurk, they watch my steps. As they hoped to have my life, 7 so repay them for their crime; in wrath cast down the peoples, O God! 8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your record? 9 Then my enemies will retreat in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, 11 in God I trust; I am not afraid. What can a mere mortal do to me? 12 My vows to you I must perform, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. 13 For you have delivered my soul from death, and my feet from falling, so that I may walk before God in the light of life.
Psalm 56:1-13 NRSV
When I was young and alone in my dark bedroom at night, I would imagine the frightening scenes from my dreams like a movie playing out on my closet door. I would repeat Psalm 56:3, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you," until I fell asleep. I didn't know what it meant to trust God, but for me it was enough to take refuge in those words.
Over 50 years later, I've expanded my list of scriptures that reassure me of God's presence and provision. But the truth is that I still sometimes wake up in the dark fearing the "what ifs". And when I do, I pray the same verse I memorized as a child.
The psalmist teaches us that trust is the antidote to fear. When I trust in God, I don't have to figure things out, solve those what-ifs, or know the unknowns. I do not know how things will turn out. But When I trust, I can rest in God's presence, even if it is just for a few minutes at a time. I odon't have to be afraid because God is always near.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
Linda's reflection offers us a reminder, that we can overcome our fears with our faith in God: "When I trust in God, I don't have to figure things out, solve those what-ifs, or know the unknowns." We are living in uncertain and fearful times, yet, amidst the unvertainty, we can find peace in God's presence.
Dear God, when we are afraid, we can rest in your presence and know that you will always be with us. Amen.