Believing as Bludgeoning

To anyone who has memories of WW II and certainly those who remember the Depression, what is going on now probably seems like an overreacting at best or a “Chicken-littleing” at worst. People are definitely unnerved and some are undone. Most people my age are more concerned about the economy and politics then they are with getting sick.

Passages keep running through my head like: “The were in fear where no fear was” (Psalm 53:5). When the Devil, the World, or our Flesh say, “Fear.” Surely, our Lord says, “Fear thou not.” Another passage is, “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10). I keep thinking: this isn’t even really a day of adversity, at least here. It’s the fear of a possible day of adversity coming. And if sci-fi teaches us anything, the monster Fear feeds on our fears.

The present situation reminds me of being in New Orleans when a hurricane approached. Everything else went off the air but the latest radar map. I saw two big ones coming in our time there. For one we evacuated; for the other the family evacuated and I stayed. Hour on end they showed the storm. Would or wouldn’t it be a direct hit? How high the winds? How big the storm surge? You didn’t know; you couldn’t know. So in the words of Roosevelt, there was nothing to fear but fear itself.

I have titled this blogpost “Believing as Bludgeoning”. “Trusting as Truncheoning” would be more apropos since it keys in on the aspect of faith that is easiest to question, doubt, or attack, i.e. do I trust enough or hard enough. But I had to look ‘truncheoning’ up to spell it and it’s verb sense is archaic. (But is it, if I can use it and some know it? I throw this in for the Postmodern enthusiasts who read my blog. Both of them.)

What I am referencing is Spurgeon’s “Coach” way to heaven which he identified as Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee.” And his “First Class” way to heaven Which is Psalm 56:11: “In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

I shared this with my sainted friend and mentor Pastor Bryan Sullivan years ago, saying that it could bring guilt down on those in ‘coach.’ He responded the Confessional Lutheran way: “Isn’t it glorious that we have a Lord who says both?” [Author’s note: When you search a phrase to verify it and your own writing is the first Google hit, that’s probably not good. I wrote of this originally October 27, 2008. My rule is that if a blog is older than 10 years you can reuse it; unless it’s younger and you want to. I couldn’t find this quote in Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, so perhaps it’s apocryphal, or I’ve misattributed it.]

Whether we go ‘coach’ and are cramped by our fears or ‘first class’ where we breath freely and deeply without the broken rib of fear stabbing us, the important fact is where we are going for Jesus’ sake. And in His name, by His grace, through His power, we will get there despite our fear and to spite Fear.


About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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