Fight or flight?

May 15, 2020

Scripture Readings

When was the last time you felt fear? How long has it been since you were in danger? 

Psychologists have documented what happens when we face fear and danger. They‘ll tell you that most human beings choose between fight or flight. A threat appears, and we‘ll either choose fight by facing the danger head-on or flight by turning and running from the danger as fast as we can.  

Perhaps you remember facing a scary situation in your life, something quite unnerving. Do you remember how you responded? How you felt? What were you tempted to do? 

Psalm 61 is written by David, someone in trouble - a man who finds himself in a dangerous and scary place. His reference to “the end of the earth,” makes some believe this psalm was written during David’s son Absalom’s attempted coup or while he was away in battle. Either way, David is away from home and full of fear.

Notice how he responds to his danger. 

First, David calls out to God. The first place he goes is to the Lord Himself, asking God to hear him as he cries out for help. 

Second, he recognizes who God is. David identifies all that God means to him. He writes: God, You’re the rock that is higher than me. You’re my refuge, my strong tower, the tent I can dwell in, the shelter I need. 

Finally, David declares his worship of God because his prayer for help has been answered. He has experienced God’s calming presence even as the Lord has heard his pleas for help. And thus, David worships God for his protection and presence, his love and faithfulness. 

I wonder today what danger you feel. It’s not at all difficult to put our feet in David’s sandals as we walk through this season of COVID-19. Fear of sickness and death, anxiety over the loss of job and income - life in Calgary today can be quite overwhelming and filled with fear.  

And today, maybe we need to remind ourselves that, like David, we’re not limited to fight or flight options. Psalm 61 teaches us there’s another option. That David’s God is our God, and we can take refuge in the shelter of his wings when our lives are filled with fear.  

Are you afraid? Take a minute and reach out to him. He’s listening to you just like he did for David. 

Matt Boda

Former Youth Pastor at Foothills, current Pastor at Rock Pointe Church and fantastic friend