“I sought the LORD, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces will never be covered with shame.” Psalm 34:4-5
Can you imagine what it would be like to be delivered from all your fears? I don’t consider myself a fearful person but I have my share of doubts, worries, and insecurities that bother me on a daily basis, not to mention a legitimate fear of heights. Last summer my family went to an Aerial Adventure Park. We started our adventure on a wilderness zip line tour. I actually enjoyed zipping from tree top to tree top, if I kept my eyes closed and clung to the tree trunk after each zip. I gave new meaning to the phrase “tree hugger.” Our zip line tour ended with a 70 foot free fall off the tallest point of the Aerial Ropes Course. I closed my eyes tight and inched my way to the edge of the platform, clinging to the harness and rope that was going to guide my descent to the bottom. After what seemed like hours, I finally convinced myself to jump. I screamed the whole way down and laughed uncontrollably when I landed. Not out of joy!
Having developed a false sense of security from my zip line experience, I decided to venture onto the Aerial Ropes Course. I should have stuck to the section designated for kids ages 4-7 but instead went straight to the beginner course. I’d jumped from the highest point of the aerial course, how bad could the beginner ropes course be, right? Wrong! It was absolutely terrifying. The difference was in order to navigate the ropes course with its many obstacles and challenges, I had to keep my eyes wide open. I couldn’t blindly grope my way through it like I’d done on the zip line course. And unfortunately, once I started on it there was no easy way to get back to the beginning. I had to complete three or four challenging obstacles to return to the starting point.
My husband and two teenage children had no problem navigating the highest levels of the course. They would shout encouraging words to me from the different sections of the course. My husband even went so far as to try to show me “how easy” it was to get across these narrow ropes, wobbly boards, and cargo nets. But nothing removed the overwhelming fear I felt. Eventually, I started to pray for help. After every single step I took, I had to breathe, say a pray, and ask God to give me the strength to take the next step. It was a very practical and poignant application of my faith which eventually led me off the course to the safety of the ground.
Removing fear from my life is often times like that although usually less dramatic. I’ve learned it’s not something I can do in my own power. The Psalmist tells me in this verse that first I need to seek the LORD and then He will answer me. It’s always in the seeking first that I find God ready and able to answer and bless. Jesus gives us this same encouragement to seek in Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened. For everyone that asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will open.”
When I first came to believe in Jesus as Savior, I didn’t know anything about Him or the Bible. In fact, I only knew what my friend had told me when she asked me to pray with her that Jesus was LORD, He died for my sins, by believing in Him my sins would be forgiven, and I’d go to Heaven. This simple prayer is the ultimate ask and receive; seek and find; and knock and the door opens. And it’s the starting point for every believing Christian in building a lifelong relationship with Christ. We get a glimpse of what a relationship with God is like in Psalm 34:5 “Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered in shame.”
I love the word radiant. It reminds me of Wilbur in one of my favorite childhood books “Charlotte’s Web.” Radiant is the third word that Charlotte spins in her web to describe Wilbur to a now enthralled audience. At this point in the story, Wilbur actually feels radiant which means “bright with hope.” He’s started to feel hopeful that he might not die. When we are in a relationship with Christ, we too are bright with hope. Not only are we secure in our eternal future but as we grow in our faith we become more like Christ shining His light into the world. Because He forgives our sins our faces need never be covered in shame again. Jesus is the Light of the World, who takes away the sins of the world, and grants us peace. Be radiant, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16