The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
—Psalm 46:7 NIV

Every evening around dusk, five white-tailed deer tiptoe out of the woods and stroll across our back lawn. Inevitably, one deer will look up and stare suspiciously in our direction. Standing stock-still with her ears spread wide, she asks, “Who are you, and what do you want?”

Whether it’s fear, instinct, or curiosity, I do not know. Regardless, the deer are unwilling to move. Boy, can I relate! I am often paralyzed by my own doubts and false perceptions. And, if it weren’t for a wise and shocking statement a counselor once said to me, I might still be unaware of my struggle with unfounded fear.

“You’re not secure in your own reality,” he said flatly.

“What?” I asked, surprised.

“Even though you have a loving husband, a home, no financial problems, great kids, and good health, you’re acting like something dreadful is going to happen any second. Although you no longer live in an unstable environment, you still believe you do.”

“But there are so many things that could go wrong.” I protested, “There are so many things that do go wrong.”

“Yes, and yet, as long as we breathe, God calls us to life—to freedom in Christ and a life of peace and joy.”

As hard as that was to hear, I wanted to live in freedom. I remembered what Paul wrote in Galatians, It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1 NIV). Though Paul was referring to legalism and living under the law, I can also be enslaved by my fears. Yet, God wants me to frolic and play like a deer who “fears no evil” because I know God and have confidence in Him. Yes, quite possibly a lion is prowling around, trying to find something to eat. I am aware. But I also have a heavenly Father who loves me. He is not an alcoholic or unpredictable like my earthly father. Rather, He is faithful, loving, patient, and safe. He is my fortress.

So, like our deer do most evenings, we can step out of the woods by faith. Then, like a shepherd tends his flock, God guides us, protects us, and feeds us—then gives us everything to enjoy within the boundaries he has created. The question is, do you believe it? Are you still wondering who God is, questioning His character? Or do you drink in His Word and study His goodness, faithfulness, power, and holiness? If so, you will find the courage to meander out of the woods because there is no fear in love. It takes a surrendered heart and a willingness to have your mind renewed, but it is worth it!In 1 Samuel we read that David experienced unprecedented hardship, even the constant threat of death from the sitting King. He hid in strongholds carved out in the side of mountains. He knew what it was to be pursued by an enemy, and he was scared. But when it was all over, David received the gift of peace and joy. He rejoiced and praised God for his deliverance. Why? Because He knew who God was. He intimately sought God and experienced His love and mercy over and over again. Fortunately, because of Jesus, we can too.

Yes, just like the answer to every question in Sunday school is usually “Jesus,” the answer to all our fears is Jesus. He came to bind up the brokenhearted and set the captives free. His desire for us is to frolic in the field near the still waters, even though the enemy is lurking. Yeah, there will be trouble. The lions are real. And yet, He says, fear not! Why? Because He is a good shepherd. He knows our needs, and He will provide. He will guide. He will love, and He will protect.

Father, thank You for being my safe place of refuge. You are my Rock! Remind me anew who You are when I am afraid, overwhelmed, and discouraged. Like David, fill me with Your Spirit and renew my mind so I will praise You and rejoice in knowing You will conquer the enemy.

“As for God, his way is perfect:
The LORD’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
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.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.”
—2 Samuel 22:31-34 NIV

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and
peace in believing, that you may abound in hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13 NJKV).

Marlene McKenna



Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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8 Comments. Leave new

  • Donna Perkins
    May 8, 2023 3:54 pm

    What a great portrait!!!!❤️❤️❤️

  • Candie Remick
    May 8, 2023 6:37 pm

    I used to struggle with constant fears and “what ifs” before accepting
    Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I am so thankful that over time
    He has helped me be more courageous and step out in
    faith. I still sometimes struggle but I try to remember that
    He has proved Himself faithful to me over and over
    in each and every situation.
    Thank you for your lovely message, Marlene.

  • Margaret Fowler
    May 8, 2023 9:57 pm

    Thank you for a reassuring message. I am very often afraid of “What if this? ….. ” or “What if that?….. The Bible verse you shared is perfect, so is the beautiful picture.. What a joy to see the deer every evening. Truly a reminder for you!

    • That is true, Margaret. God said He revealed Himself in nature and He also uses it for our sanctification.
      The What if’s are turned to Even ifs because He never changes. ♥️

  • Audrey Yates
    May 12, 2023 6:49 pm

    Thank you for your beautiful message today on fear.


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