“I am not afraid. I am not afraid.” I have often said those words to convince myself.
We spend a lifetime learning the lesson taught to us by the writer of the 23rd Psalm. In fact, most people can recite the entire Psalm, and yet the deeper meaning of it eludes us. It is this: terrible things happen in our world. Terrible things happen to us over the course of a lifetime. But the lesson for us is not to fear. I often just rest on these wise and wonderful words written by Frederick Beuchner:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” The psalm does not pretend that evil and death do not exist. Terrible things happen, and they happen to good people as well as to bad people. Even the paths of righteousness lead through the valley of the shadow. Death lies ahead for all of us, saints and sinners alike, and for all the ones we love. The psalmist doesn’t try to explain evil. He doesn’t try to minimize evil. He simply says he will not fear evil. For all the power that evil has, it doesn’t have the power to make him afraid.
– Frederick Buechner from Secrets in the Dark
When I was in the hospital undergoing many tests and procedures, one thing I did was to say to myself over and over again, “I am not afraid.” It helped.
Gratefully, God has made us resilient people who can face off against all manner of evil and not be afraid. Thanks be to God.