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Fear and Katrina

A Prayer


October 2005


O Lord, we live in a time of uncertainty.  Many of our people are suffering from the fury of the hurricane.  Gas prices are astronomical.  What is going to happen?  Obviously, we do not know the future, but we do know that the worst thing is to give way to panic and pessimism.

We contrast fear with faith.  Fear imprisons, faith liberates; fear paralyzes, faith empowers; fear disheartens, faith encourages.   O Lord, help us above all to be a people of faith.

In the book of Samuel, the Israelite army was confronted with its greatest fear.  That fear was named Goliath.  When the giant Goliath challenged the Israelites to single combat, every man quailed in fear, until David showed up.  David put his faith in God and his sling.  David’s arm was not paralyzed by fear.  It was liberated by faith in you, O Lord.

For us Hurricane Katrina was Goliath.  It was monster storm.  But we are not cowed or paralyzed by the destruction, because we have faith, Our Lord and our God.

The reason we are sometimes overcome with pessimism is that we begin without you.  In any trouble, in any crisis, we look at what is happening, we analyze the situation, and we ask, Can I handle this?  If it is a difficult situation, we may think, I cannot handle this.  Then we are in panic mode.  Fear sets in and we pray, God, help me.  As we look at Psalm 27:1, we see that the Psalmist reverses that way of thinking.  The Psalmist begins with absolute confidence in God.  He declares, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”  That is the first thought that we should have in any crisis.  God will lead us, God will save us.  Therefore, I shall not be dominated by fear.  .

The Psalmist proclaims, “The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”  In any crisis, that is what we need to know first.  

Psalm 27:3 reads: “Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.”  In effect, the Psalmist says, imagine the worst that can possibly happen to you.  Imagine the worst situation. 

Many people along the Gulf Coast right now would say that they are facing the worst possible situation.  They have lost their homes, they have lost their jobs, they have no food or water, no sanitary facilities, no medical facilities.  The Psalmist says even in that worst case, “My heart shall not fear.”

The Psalmist is confident because you, Lord, are the center of his life.  His situation may be awful, but you are his stronghold, and so he is not paralyzed with fear.

In Psalm 27:4, the psalmist says that he prayed for one thing.  He prayed to live in your presence, “to behold the beauty of the Lord.” This is the only way we can live without fear, by having you, beloved Lord, in our lives, all the time, every day.

That is our answer to turmoil and confusion and difficulties and crises.  You, O Lord, will hide me in your “shelter in the day of trouble.”  You will “conceal me under the cover of your tent.”  You “will set me high on a rock.”  Amen.


If you have questions or comments, email Tony Grant

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Last Modified: 09/12/05