Psalm 34:3-4 (CEB)

Magnify the Lord with me!
    Together let us lift his name up high!
I sought the Lord and he answered me.
    He delivered me from all my fears.


“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” All of us have heard that quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inaugural address. But do you know it in context? Here’s the whole sentence: “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

It seems that the psalmist, like FDR, wants us to know that sometimes the thing we most need to be delivered from is not the thing we fear, but our fear itself – precisely because it is so often irrational and unjustifiable.

How often have the things we were most frightened of failed to materialize? How many times did we build things up far beyond what actually happened? How much sleep have we lost over things that we shouldn’t have been worried about in the first place?

The next time you find yourself in a fearful place – a place where fear is keeping you from advancing toward a goal and causing you to retreat instead, pray for this: to be delivered from fear.

To paraphrase the psalmist: when we lose our fear, we find our praise!

By Joe Monahan

For Pondering & Prayer

What is your greatest fear right now? On a scale of “very likely” to “not at all likely to happen,” where does your fear fall? Which have you spent more time praying about: the threat, or your fear? And which is likely more paralyzing for you: the threat, or your fear?

Prayer: God, today I ask you to deliver me from worry and anxiety. Help me to lose my fear so that I can find my praise. Amen.