(Photo taken by me at P.O.D. gig at the Camden Underworld, London)
Off the bat let me make a confession – I’m a major P.O.D. fanboy. I started listening to their music circa ’99 when I became a Christian. Their music has been like a soundtrack of my faith, and the theological journey of their lyrics through the years is not dissimilar to my own path.
I only discovered this song last year as Testify was an album I kind of missed. Quite a few of the Southtown boys’ songs are taken from the Psalms, and I think this is their best Metal-Psalm.
I listened to this song on my way to my Chaplain duties at a local homeless drop-in on Monday, and it hit me like a sledgehammer. Lately I’ve really been struggling with fear. We had the wonderful news that my wife Jeni is expecting our first child a couple of months ago, and hyper-vigilance doesn’t come close to describing how afraid and paranoid I’ve been feeling.
Maybe this is because we are often surrounded by tragedy and death due to the nature of our work. I think about 7 or 8 people we know have died in tragic circumstances in the last two years. To be honest I’ve always been a little paranoid, and when it comes to fight-or-flight adrenaline responses I generally land in ‘fight’. As an old Pastor friend who has similar struggles after his wife was attacked in their home once put it, “This is f@*%ing exhausting”. (Please excuse the strong language). A couple of weeks ago we were woken by a bump in the night, and instead of going back to sleep like a normal person, I went charging round the house with a baseball bat screaming at imaginary invaders. Not cool.
The words of this song, or rather the words of Psalm 27, on which it is based, have given me some comfort, encouragement and challenge this week –
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?” (NASB)
I remember an old redneck preacher teaching on the life of David when I was in YWAM. He asked the question, “What made David different to the other Israelites? Why wasn’t he afraid of Goliath?”
The answer is simple, as the best of answers often are. David didn’t look at the giant and think, “Oh man he’s so big, we’re screwed!”. He looked past. David saw Yahweh his stronghold standing behind Goliath. And he looked back at Goliath and thought, “My God is so big, and you are so small. You ain’t got a chance bub”.
The absence of fear in danger is not courage, it’s insanity. 10 years ago, as a naive young fella on the mission-field in a context where evangelism was punishable by death, I was not afraid because I had nothing to lose. Some 10 years later in a different but still fairly dangerous context – I have a lot to lose. And I’m scared. But I’m asking God to help me see him standing behind my giants. And he whispers, “Throw your stone son. Don’t be afraid.”
What giants are you facing up to?