A Primal Fear1
Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
- Psalm 27:9
In today’s psalm we encounter that primal fear that God might forget or reject us. David felt this so strongly. This fear shows up time and time again in the psalms. And many of us have felt it from time to time.
Where does this fear come from?
We might fear rejection because we know our own unworthiness. We know we’re sinners. We know we’ve made mistakes. We fear that God might reject or forget us because we wish we could forget or abandon parts of our own history.
Secondly, this fear may have been stamped into us by experience. Perhaps parents threatened rejection or abandonment in an attempt to keep you in line. Maybe a bully stabbed you with this poisoned spear. Maybe friends or loved ones wrote you off or left you behind. We so easily slip into the false belief that God will treat us the way other people have treated us. And this can metastasize into fear.
Finally, fear may be thrown at us by the enemies of our destiny. God has given each and every one of us a purpose, a destiny, a calling, a mission. Call it whatever you want but God wants to include you in the great, big, wonderful, subversive work he’s doing in this world. Every day we receive a fresh invitation to live as agents of God’s contested and beautiful kingdom.
And the forces that contest God’s kingdom fear you. And, knowing fear, those forces attempt to make you afraid. And who better to make you afraid of than God? If they can only keep us worried about God forgetting us or rejecting us, they won’t have to worry about the kingdom impact God wants to make through us.
Don’t let this primal fear burn away unacknowledged in your heart. When you feel it, voice it like David did. Pray with confidence and ask God to remember you and to include you. He won’t reject or forget you. He knows where you live and he knows the purposes he has for you.
Take time today to examine your heart. Where do you fear that God might reject or forget you? Share that fear with him and ask him to replace that fear with confidence: confidence in his love and confidence in his purposes for you.