The Upper Room Devotion for Monday, May 8, 2023, was written by Selina Machado of Blantyre, Malawi.
30 This God—his way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 31 For who is God except the Lord? And who is a rock besides our God? — 32 the God who girded me with strength, and made my way safe. 33 He made my feet like the feet of a deer, and set me secure on the heights. 34 He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35 You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand has supported me; your help has made me great. 36 You gave me a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.
Psalm 18:30-36 NRSV
TURNING TO SCRIPTURE
Watching TV and spending time on social media were starting to have a negative effect on me. Everywhere I looked, I seemed to find bad news – People infected by a disease, a recent earthquake, a shooting, people who had recently lost their lives. With each passing day, fear and worry began to creep into my mind. Eventually, I found it hard to leave my house. My emotions were fluctuating, but I seemed to be heading more toward sadness.
My “faith tank” was getting low, and I asked myself: What should I be giving my attention to instead? The one thing that helped me was listening to God’s word. Day by day, I began spending more time studying scripture; I listened to sermons and teachings; I sang and dance along to worship music. Although I did not experience an instant change, I kept at it. The more I listened to God’s word, the better I felt and the more confident I became. With time, the fear and heaviness left. Spending time with God’s word can help move us beyond our fears and is always worthwhile.
2 Timothy 1:7 state: “7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” Looking at the state of our world and nation, it would be easy to give in to fear and despair. Yet, God has infused within our hearts a spark of hope and courage to face the darkness with confidence. May we all lean in to God’s spirit of power, love, and self-discipline to help us overcome our fears.
Merciful God, we thank you for your word, which builds us up and dispels our fear. Thank you for the loving protection you provide. Amen.
- Selina Machado