He Freed Me From All My Fears
Psalms 34:4 A personal look at God’s grace and mercy, and how it calmed a sinner’s nerves for a lifetime
“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.”
Psalms 34:4 NLT
As a person who suffered from anxiety and panic attacks much of my life, I know what fear feels like. I’ve mentioned before that two things — my Christian belief and a mild prescription anti-anxiety medication — have given me respite from the wild panic.
There are a few points in my life where I honestly felt that my life was in immediate danger of ending… and I felt completely calm. One time was on a flight from Denver to Chicago. We were landing at Chicago O’Hare and just about to touch down, when suddenly the plane banked wildly to the left and my view out the window was of the wingtip barely clearing the ground. Many of the people on the plane screamed — loudly. The plane’s engines revved up, the pilot lurched us to the right, and we did a landing abort. Apparently the near-accident had caught the attention of the FAA, since after we landed several FAA badged officials walked quickly to the front of the aircraft before passengers were allowed to get off. We talked to a flight-attendant who was shakily smoking a cigarette when we were waiting for a taxi, and he admitted that he thought we were “going in”.
All I felt during that near-crash was an incredible feeling of detached calm. That same feeling came over me in another dangerous situation. Barb and I were on the last day of a float trip on the Snake River in Wyoming — no whitewater rapids, just some fast moving water. Our primary raft guide had handed over the oars to his second-in-command, who promptly drove the raft right into a snag. The front of the raft went down into the water and almost immediately the raft filled with water.
Now, we were wearing life vests and even if the raft had flipped, we probably would have been able to make it to shore safely. Since I can’t swim, I should have gone into panic mode. Once again, I calmly assessed the situation and did exactly what the primary guide told me to do — BAIL WATER! We managed to get out of the situation with no issues other than getting soaked, although my arms ached for days from filling and dumping five-gallon buckets of cold river water.
In retrospect, I look at both of those situations as having been God at work. He wasn’t about to let Barb and I die in a senseless accident even though we were unbelievers at the time, because he had plans for us that we’re only now putting into action. And I am certain that the sense of utter calm I felt was His way of saying “I’m in control now, just relax and you’ll be fine.”
In this Psalm, David is relaying the story of the time he was so afraid of Abimelech (the generic name for the Philistine kings from Abraham up to David’s time) that he acted insane. I know that I’ve been so filled with fear at certain times in my life that I have acted in an insane manner (just ask Barb if you don’t believe me!). That’s why this Psalm called out to me today.
Even in those fearful pre-medication, non-belief days between my birth and about age 44, I used to pray. Yep, Mr. Non-Believer would throw out a long, silent repetition of The Lord’s Prayer in those hours of terror. I know now that God was listening. He knew that deep in my heart, I was going to come back to Him, wholly devoted and with the goal of bringing other souls to Him.
In conclusion, if you’re feeling any fear, open your heart to the Lord. Pray earnestly about the situation that’s causing the fear, and it WILL subside. And definitely don’t worry about those other life-threatening situations you might run into on an airplane, a whitewater raft, or at any other time — God WILL protect those He loves. If He decides it’s your time to come to Him, remember that that’s a blessing too!
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Heavenly Father, You are worthy of my praise at all time in all places. I will tell others through my testimony how You heard my prayers, felt my anxiety, and answered me with calm. You have redeemed my life from the evil one’s clutches, and delivered me from every fear. Thank You for forgiving my sin and clothing me in Christ’s righteousness. You alone are worthy of my praise and thanksgiving, forever and ever, AMEN.