On Fear and Anxiety: Storms and Sheltering In
Further reflections on fear and anxiety from God's Word:
Meditation: Proverbs 1:33 (Readings: Prov. 3:25-26; Luke 6:46-49)
“But the one who always listens to me will live undisturbed in heavenly peace. Free from fear, confident and courageous, you will rest unafraid and sheltered from the storms of life.”
There will be storms. We've lived long enough to know it's true so where to find a place of shelter? We've spent some time these past weeks "sheltering in." But where do we find our true shelter, a shelter that results in peace?
Proverbs 1:33 says those who listen to God find shelter.
Listening in the Bible is active. To listen is to hear and act on what is heard. Shelter implies a place of safety. We feel safe when we have God’s instructions to help us, when we give up our need to control our circumstances.
A storm came barreling down out of the northwest several nights ago. Lightning shattered the darkness of the night and the house trembled at the thunder. The storms of life overwhelm our senses and our emotions. We can listen to our fear or let the thunder remind us to first listen to God.
What happens to our emotions when we listen to God?
The proverb states it clearly. We who listen live undisturbed in heavenly peace. When we know the reality of being transferred into the glorious kingdom of God, we live outside fear's domain. We don’t passively dismiss danger to live in some unrealistic form of denial. The world has much to offer in the ways to avoid pain. The fear-mongers change their tunes daily in their attempt to draw us in. When we listen to God rather than the clamor of the culture, our confidence and courage are bolstered to face the storms around us. We act and we rest in Him, unafraid because He is near.
- Listen to God. Really? Is that necessary?
- Doesn’t God have more important matters to attend to than speaking to me?
- When life gets complicated and hard, will we stop to get counsel from God?
- Are we afraid of what we may have to own up to if we stop long enough to listen to what He has to say on a matter?
- Are we concerned that God will ask us to own our contributions to the storms raging around us?
The Bible answers our questions and warns of the consequences of not listening. What happens when we do not heed the instruction to listen?
“They would not accept my counsel. They spurned my reproof. So they shall eat the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.” (Prov. 1:30-32)
When we refuse to listen to God are we not spurning Him? To spurn God is to go one’s own way. This is the definition of sin. As God’s children, we are to leave sin behind and live dependent on the Savior. We remember our salvation was bought with the price of Jesus’ own blood on the cross.
“All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.” (Is. 53:6)
When Jesus took the disciples up on the mountain and transfigured before them, the Father spoke these words aloud, “Listen to Him.” This instruction to a few disciples reverberates throughout the ages and into our ears. God instructs us in our need for his counsel as storms of various kinds bear down on our lives.
“Listen to Him.”
I’m listening, Lord. Speak to me and help to obey so that I live secure from the storm. You are my Shelter, my Refuge, and my Rock. Forgive me when I seek to find my own way out of storms. I turn again to you and sit listening for your Still Small Voice over the din of the culture around me. In this world we will have trouble, but You, Lord, have overcome the world.