C O V E R S T O R Y
It was 1933 and the United States was in a severe depression and in the midst of the worst economic crisis in its history. Fear gripped everyone’s hearts. President Franklin Roosevelt in his inaugural speech uttered the words, “. . . the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Why did President Roosevelt make this statement? He knew what fear can do. Fear paralyzes and imprisons. Courage and strength have a tendency to evaporate in the face of fear. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines fear as “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger . . . an anxious concern.” How do we overcome fear? We must recognize the reality of our hearts, embrace the only resource for our help and renew our hope in the Lord. The Reality of Our Hearts God has created and wired us as emotional creatures. Like it or not, one of the emotions which we all respond with is fear. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Responding in fear can actually protect you. Fear is what keeps you on the curb as an 18-wheeler comes barreling down the road. Healthy fear can also motivate us to do the right thing, to obey those in authority over us and to obey God. The truth is that all of us have things we are fearful of, right? If you have a pulse, you have faced fear. We fear uncertainty, hostility, danger and even death. Our hearts are especially fearful when everything seems to be falling apart and out of control. As you have likely discovered, things can change in an instant. You never really know what is going to happen next. The phone rings late at night. Your heart pounds. You can’t believe what you are hearing. There’s confusion, anguish and tears all wrapped up together. As you consider whatever you are facing today and certainly will face, let the words of Psalm 46:1-3 sink in: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah.” These strong words give us the idea that the writers experienced a desperate situation. Most scholars believe that this particular Psalm was penned by Sons of Korah to celebrate the miraculous deliverance of Judah from the Assyrians. Rumors abounded that the Assyrian forces were on the verge of invading Judah, and they would eventually end up at the walls of Jerusalem. Keep in mind that the Assyrians were not your routine enemy. They were well known for their cruelty and barbaric ways. Think of ISIS on steroids! They were the worst kind of terrorists. The city of Jerusalem was eventually surrounded, and the people were trapped. Sennacherib sent a messenger with a letter demanding that Hezekiah surrender. Hezekiah’s next move was not some elaborate military
BY DON L O U GH , J R .
4 The Experience
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