But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? (Psalm 56:3-4)
Time to Throw Down
Writing these weekly “Thirsty Thursday” posts for the past year has made me keenly aware of other, clever weekday alliterations. There is obviously the classic “Manic Monday” song by the Bangles; “Teamwork Tuesday” comes up now and again; I subscribe to a Luminex podcast called “Whiteboard Wednesday” that considers best practices in church leadership; and of course, even “Thirsty Thursday” itself pops up on a few bar & restaurant signs around town! This week I came across “Throwdown Thursday,” a blog that’s intended to encourage positive thinking and that “can-do” attitude. As a noun, “throwdown” describes a challenge or a fight. Here is an example from the blog:
Happy Throwdown Thursday everyone!! Always remember to think positive no matter what’s going on around you. We all have bad days. We all have days were nothing seems to go right. This is when it’s most important to think of all the positive progress you’ve made. You’ve come a long way…keep your head up, you can go farther. Work it…Live it…OWN IT!!
Now, there’s nothing wrong with thinking positively and remembering how relatively well things are going for us—even on the bad days. But personal positivity can only carry us so far. As one writer observed, “I don’t have a problem with the power of positive thinking; I’m just not all that positive that it’s all that powerful.”
In Psalm 56, David finds himself in trouble. It’s a common theme. Sometimes David’s troubles are of his own making, but this time he is being “hounded” and “attacked” (vs. 1-2). People are “twisting” his words, “plotting” against him, and even “spying” on him (vs. 5-6). David is in trouble; he is overwhelmed; he is afraid. We don’t know if it was happening on a Thursday, but it is most certainly time for a throwdown! What can David do?
“But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?” (Psalm 56:3-4)
David doesn’t choose positive thinking when he’s in trouble, he chooses to trust in God.
The Hebrew word for trust is batach. It is a word that literally means “to throw oneself down.” It’s time for a throwdown…time to take on the challenge…time to fight back, and David knows that God is the answer. God is not just another good idea in this fight…He’s the only good idea.
Notice David doesn’t try to convince himself that there’s nothing to fear (positive thinking); notice that he doesn’t say “if” I am afraid (wishful thinking); notice that he doesn’t simply throw up his hands in despair and quit. Instead, he throws down. He admits that his fear is real…that he can’t face this fight alone…and he throws himself down at the feet his loving and all-powerful God. David chooses to put his trust in God’s promises…in God’s future…in God’s hands.
There is a lot humility in that kind of throwdown…but there is also amazing freedom and power. In his letter to Timothy, Paul writes, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1). It’s not natural to trust and not be afraid. It’s supernatural. When our fears seem too big and too real, our God is even bigger…even more real.
These two wonderful verses from Psalm 56 are captured in a familiar Children’s song, When I Am Afraid. We don’t begin to have this kind of confidence by thinking positively about our own abilities and accomplishments—about how we are getting stronger and stronger. We begin to trust by becoming more and more dependent…more and more childlike.
When (not if) YOU are afraid, consider what it means to batach, to trust in God. Throw yourself down at the feet of Jesus, praise Him for his promises, trust Him for your future. And always stays thirsty (not just on Thursdays) my friends.