The Lord is the strength of His people;
He is a stronghold of salvation for His anointed.
Save Your people, bless Your possession,
shepherd them, and carry them forever.
Psalm 28:8-9 (HCSB)
Series Focus: “Rising From the Valley”
Unable to catch my breath, my heart pounded. Thoughts swam through my head as I frantically paced back and forth. I fell to my hands and knees as my vision blurred. Panic-stricken, I could only grab onto two thoughts: 1) How are we going to make it through this? And 2) God, I need Your help!
Panic attacks. Have you ever experienced one? Sometimes they come from nowhere, with no known trigger. However, many times, they are induced by overwhelming stress, circumstances, emotions, and thoughts. In this situation, we had a tremendous financial burden and no way of meeting it. Fear coursed through my body. How would we care for and provide for our children? Where would we live? How would we eat?
When allowed to run rampant, our thoughts can carry us quickly to a horrible place. Steadfast in our knowledge of scriptures, faith in God, and trust in His character, we still sometimes surrender our minds to the irrational—but very real—works of fear. Even when things are going well, we often brace ourselves for when the ball drops—because it’s just going to happen, eventually.
In Psalm 28 (NLT), David expresses feelings of panic as he cries out to God. In verses 1-2, he writes:
I pray to you, O Lord, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die. Listen to my prayer for mercy as I cry out to you for help, as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary.
I’m grateful for the example and experiences of David throughout scripture. No matter the circumstances, the struggles, the enemies, the fears—David cried out to God for help and worshiped Him. In verses 6-7, he exclaims:
Praise the Lord! For He has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
Despite his own weaknesses, battles, and failures, David experienced the strength, power, wisdom, compassion, rescue, provision, and love of God throughout his lifetime. He knew God as his Father and understood his position in the Father’s care. David sought God in prayer, praise, worship, in quietness, and in trust. He knew God as his strength and his shield.
Turning to the New Testament, Paul also knew God as his strength and shield. He wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT) that God said to him, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” He goes on to say in verse 10 that when he is weak, that is when he is strong—because the power of Christ can then work through him. In Ephesians 6:13-17 (NLT), Paul taught about the armor of God:
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
In our weaknesses, God is our strength. He makes up the difference in our abilities with His power. His grace is enough. In our battles, God is our shield. He protects us against the fiery darts of the enemy—the faith-opposing thoughts of dread and defeat.
In the valley of panic, God is with you. He is for you. He has provided His armor to protect you and His power to sustain you. Don’t let fear have its work of destruction. Rather, like David, seek the Lord continually, cry out to Him for help, lift your hands to Him in worship, praise Him for His faithfulness, and trust Him with all your heart as you rejoice in Him as your strength and your shield.
Holding Fast to Hope,
For Reflection: Look up scriptures that point to God as our strength. Read Ephesians 6:10-18. Write out the different pieces of the armor of God, what those pieces of armor protect, and why they are so important for us. Which piece of armor is most needed in your life right now? Why?
Scripture References: Psalm 28; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Ephesians 6:10-18