#FEARLESS365 is a yearlong study of God’s commandment to us to live without fear. For 365 days, we will focus on one scripture and volunteers from all over the world will share their personal thoughts and what God has shared with them on the specific verse. For more info… go here.
Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?
No doubt you’ve heard the phrase, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”
We’ve all gone through seasons when that seems to be a rule of life, and new disaster seems to be lurking around every corner. Illness, loss of loved ones, the end of a relationship, job loss, betrayals—these events don’t discriminate, nor do the anxiety and depression that often accompany them.
Psalm 27 is a favorite of mine—what better words of comfort when you are feeling lost, alone. or afraid, than those comparing God to a military stronghold. But in the midst of grief and loss, being reminded of God’s strength often seems of little consolation: what good is all the power in the universe, if it doesn’t change your circumstances?
Rather, in the midst of struggle, we find ourselves resorting to questions such as, “Why?” This is the age-old question, and I’m not even going to attempt to answer that here. “Where is God in all this?” This, too, is often more than we can contemplate in times of deep mourning and grief. Instead, let’s take a moment to focus on “Who is God?”
Psalm 27 begins by telling us that the Lord is our light. An important distinction needs to be emphasized here: God doesn’t give us light—He is light.
John 8:12 says: Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” [Emphasis mine.] Light shows us the way. It gives us comfort. And it belongs to us.
Light has another significant purpose: it reveals our need.
Brokenness prefers the dark. For some reason, as soon as we begin to experience pain, or addiction, or struggle, our instinct is to hide. We don’t allow anyone to share in our suffering, thereby giving it the power to control us and often finding comfort in negative or destructive manners.
Next, the verse tells us that Lord is our salvation. Salvation finds us in the dark, but it loves us too much to leave us there. So it delivers us. One of the definitions of “deliver” is “to give into another’s possession or keeping, or to surrender.” Not only do we know that God is light, but we also belong to Him.
This leads us to the next (and arguably the best) part: we possess His strength.
The Hebrew word for strength (or fortress, depending on your translation) can also be translated as “defense” or “bulwark.” And “bulwark” is an interesting word indeed: the most familiar definition relates to a fortification or barrier (often in regard to ships). And that would be a logical interpretation here—after all, who doesn’t want to think of God as a safe place to hide in times of trouble?
But another definition for “bulwark” is this: any person or thing giving strong support or encouragement in time of need, danger, or doubt. Perhaps this doesn’t have the same impact as the picture of a mighty naval ship coming to our rescue. However, it is far easier to relate to.
And I think that is the whole point: He is light, revealing our need for Him, removing our darkness, and protecting and comforting us amid our sadness, doubt, anger, and grief.
It is here, in this “strong place,” that we find the real gift: hope. Hope that He will give us the support and encouragement we need in this moment, not only in spite of our circumstances, but because of them.
Carmen Larson is a homeschool mom, blogger, partner with her husband in leading a mobile DJ service who lives in Aurora, Colorado. She is passionate about loving her neighbor, and love to inspire people to be intentional in their everyday life.