My Heart Shall Not Fear….

White Rock Presbyterian Church

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
Though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.”
(Psalm 27:3)

This speaks to me of enemies, of opponents, of those who want to hurt or defeat or dominate. “Though an army encamp against me….though war rise up against me….” And I think, “Thank you, Jesus, that there’s no army setting up camp to fight me, that there’s no war rising up against me. Thank you, Jesus, that I don’t have enemies wanting to hurt or defeat or dominate me.”

Or do I? 

Perhaps not external enemies (and truly, for that I am grateful). But during this season of Lent, I have been compelled to think about the enemies within–those things within me that threaten to hurt, defeat, and dominate; those things within me that hurt me and others, that aim to defeat acceptance with judgment and hope with despair, whose goal seem to be to dominate the healthy parts of me with unhealthy attitudes and behaviors, and keep me from moving toward wholeness.

What are these enemies? They are things like the voice of my inner critic, old patterns of behavior that no longer serve me well, and attitudes learned in childhood that I’ve outgrown; things like guilt, shame, and hurt from times past; things like fears, anxieties, and uncertainties about the future; and more! 

These are my enemies. These create the “army” that encamps against me. These make up the “war” that rises against me–the war against healing, the war against wholeness, the war against forgiveness and hope and courage and love. These are the things within me that continue to battle against healing and wholeness. These are the things against which I must fight.

These enemies are real, and there are times when it can feel as though they have set up camp against me–and yet, with the psalmist, I want to say, “My heart shall not fear!” These enemies are real, and at times it seems as though they are rising up against me–and yet, with the psalmist, I want to claim, and proclaim, “I will be confident!” 

I want healing. I want wholeness. And not just for myself, but for the world. And so I join with the psalmist again, praying along with him, “Teach me your way, O Lord….[so that] I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps .27:11, 13). And that is the way of forgiveness and courage and hope and love, the way of trust in God, the way of Jesus. 

I can’t say, “Thank you, Jesus, that I don’t have enemies.” But I can–and do–say, “Help me, Jesus, to fight my enemies. So that I can walk more fully in your way and live more fully into wholeness, not just for my sake but for the sake of the world.” 

What about you?  

Peace be with us all.

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