For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. Psalm 18:31-32
“Wait for me…guys wait for me.” We were sitting on the lawn above the beach at Horseshoe Bay. A little boy, probably four or five was peddling his legs off, trying to keep up with his siblings who had raced along the bike path and disappeared around the headland. “Wait for me…”. You could hear the panic in his voice.
Panic. It can be triggered by a passing thought, a spoken word, a recalled memory, an unexpected fright, a familiar face, a sudden realisation, an unforeseen event, a recognisable scent, a looming deadline. In an instant the heartbeat accelerates. The breath shortens. The forehead becomes clammy. The body shakes. The teeth clench. The muscles tense. The stomach churns. You lose all control over your body and emotions.
Ever experienced any of those symptoms? It’s the moment where rational thought goes out the window and common sense reason is ignored; where the imagination is at its creative best, conjuring up the most dire conclusion.
What do you do when panic sets in? Where do you turn when the unknown makes you anxious? When loss of control makes you afraid? When uncertainty is around the corner? When change unsettles?
“Wait for me…” the little boy yelled out in panic. It was then I heard another voice. “Don’t panic…Keep going…I’m right here with you.” It was the calming voice of his mother, riding just behind him. The panic, anxiety and fear made the little boy forget that his mother was riding with him. Just behind him. Watching him.
Panic, anxiety, and fear can create a form of spiritual amnesia in us too. It dulls our faith memory. It makes us forget who God is and how good God is. David forgot the goodness of the Lord when his enemies caused him to panic so he ran and hid. Elijah forgot and ran in fear when Queen Jezebel put a contract out on his life and became depressed. Jehoshaphat was alarmed and immediately panicked when he saw the advancing army and realised that he didn’t have enough troops to fight.
It’s precisely in those moments of panic, fear, anxiety or depression that we need to hear the mum’s words to her son, “Don’t panic…keep going…I’m right here with you.” For they are also God’s words to us. Remember who our God is. Remember whose child we are. That’s what I love about David’s description of who and what the Lord is to him in Psalm 18, after God delivered him from his enemies. David says the Lord is “my strength,” “my rock,” “my fortress,” “my deliverer,” “my God,” “my mountain,” “my shield,” “my salvation,” and “my stronghold.”
When panic hits, anxiety overwhelms, or fear threatens, remember there is nothing uncertain or flaky about God. He is constant, solid and always present. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strengthand keeps my way secure. When you know this God, you can just keep peddling your little legs off around the corner of the unknown, because he is with you.
TO PONDER: In times of panic, fear, or anxiety, what image or word of God will you remember so you can go on?
Lord God, when panic hits, help me keep going for your promise is you are always with me. Amen.