Today’s Scripture Selection: Psalm 27:1-2

So what stops us?

What stops us from learning, growing, reaching out, reaching in, testing, loving, answering God’s call – or a thousand other things we might imagine?

Often, too often, I think it is fear.

None of us is immune, though some try to pretend they are.

Fear can reach out and grasp us even when we think we are most in control.  In fact, some who use control to an extreme may ultimately be the most afraid among us.

When we are caught up in this – there is a Scripture worth recalling:

“The LORD is my light and salvation – whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”

Those words come from the 27th Psalm and are credited to David, the shepherd King.

As we know from his story, David was many things:

  • A shepherd boy who saved his people by fighting a warrior by the name of Goliath
  • A valiant general who won many wars yet also wrestled with his own inner battles
  • A king whose kingdom set the stage for Christ’s kingdom to come
  • An adulterer, who sent the husband of the woman he chose to death on a battlefield
  • A broken, humbled sinner who lost a child to death, and who, in begging forgiveness found new life for himself and his people
  • A man after God’s own heart

What a study; so much complexity and such an example for us all.

Not because he was perfect.  Not because he never feared or wrestled with those fears – but because he did.

And it this man who, according to tradition, penned those powerful, haunting words:

“The LORD is my light and salvation – whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”

David understood how fear can stop us in our tracks.

And he knew the way past that fear.

He knew the way to God.

Prayer: Father, when I am fearful, touch me with your strengthening presence, that I may face that fear – and bravely move beyond – to wherever you would have me go.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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