The Rector's Blog
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August 18, 2016, 12:38 PM

"I will never let you go."


Hear my voice, O God, when I complain;
    protect my life from fear of the
    enemy.”
 

Psalm 64:1

A thought crossed my mind as I pondered this psalm:  Is it that the psalmist is afraid of the enemy – or that the enemy is afraid of the psalmist?  And if it is the enemy’s fear that threatens the psalmist, what might be the danger posed to the enemy by a faithful believer in God?

We can start by asking what sorts of things we ourselves fear.  I am not afraid of spiders or snakes, but I refuse to go on a roller coaster.  I am afraid I will be thrown out of the car from a great height and fall to great injury or death.  So I fear pain and death.  I also fear having no control in a dangerous situation.

I would probably be afraid if someone held me up at gunpoint.  Again, death or injury and the lack of control are the threats I perceive.

Sometimes I am afraid of change – primarily change over which I have little or no control, and which could cause me to lose position, reputation, influence, power, or cause death or injury.

Do you see a pattern here? 

In most of these scenarios, there is a common thread – and it’s not the death/injury paradigm – it’s the issue of control.  We are taught from our youth to think we have the ability to control what happens to us.  Maybe we ascribe to the power of positive thinking or the magic of prayer.

Or we’ve learned we actually do have a lot of agency in our own lives: we choose what jobs to seek or accept; we choose whether or whom we want to marry; we choose what kind of house to live in or what kind of car to drive, and so on.

But when it comes to injury or death issues, we don’t always have a choice.  We might get cancer or fall down stairs or develop heart disease – and it could be because we chose to smoke or not watch where we were going, or it could be just because.  Sometimes stuff just happens.

Maybe the tax policies of the federal government have encouraged our employer to close a plant here and open one overseas.  Maybe the demand for coal drops through the floor and there are no retraining programs available.  Maybe we see others “making it” and ourselves “losing it.”

Fear is the whisper that we can’t fix everything, and sometimes that we can’t seem to fix anything at all.  We have no power, no influence, no impact and all around us is ruin.

Maybe this is where the faithful believer has an edge – s/he has absorbed the angelic message, the Gospel: “Fear not, for I am with you always.  I hold you in the palm of my hand.  Let nothing dismay you, nothing affright you, I will never let you go.”


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