“You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.”
Psalms 91:5-8 NIVUK
These words from Psalm 91 have sustained me on several occasions. There was one occasion when the redundancy sword was hanging heavily over the organisation where I worked. The usual double whammy of too many employees and insufficient work to sustain their employment. And my own department and position was particularly vulnerable. But God in His mercy popped verse 7 into my mind, “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” Thankfully, I survived the redundancy exercise, but several colleagues didn’t. God in His mercy reassured me, and His Word sustained me in the run up to the announcement.
But there are other nuggets in these few verses. Night terrors, for one. Isn’t it strange that when we lie in bed the problems of the previous day, or the day to come, assume proportions far in excess of reality? And instead of praying and touching base with our loving Heavenly Father, we lie in a terror-sweat, building imaginary scenarios in our minds. Or am I the only one who has experienced those sorts of “terrors in the night”?
The verses go on to explore the life experiences that can be so debilitating. Physical violence from weaponry. Illnesses and plagues. Infestations from other forms of life, microscopic or otherwise. These things can induce fears in each one of us. The Covid “plague” is particularly relevant today and I have dear friends who live in fear, adopting a hermit-like existence, just in case they become afflicted by the virus. “What-if” fears can be a blight on our lives in themselves.
Verse 4 of this Psalm is where we need to camp. Under the wings of our loving Heavenly Father. Because it is there that we will find the protection we all need. There are no terrors in His presence, just love and reassurance, kindness and grace.