How to Trust God Even When You’re Afraid (Wednesdays with Walter)

Margaret —  September 11, 2013 — 18 Comments

Trusting God Even When You’re Afraid (Wednesdays with Walter)

It's no secret that Leif and I have struggled over the years to connect spiritually through our personal times of devotion. In the early days of our marriage, we tried a laundry list of things that simply didn't work.

One year, we began reading Oswald Chambers together on January 1st.

By January 18, we couldn't even find the book.

We attempted reading the same passages of scripture for discussion, but also felt a sense of awkward disconnect. We tried reading the same books, listening to the same sermons among other practices, and yet it always felt forced, unnatural, anything but, well, organic.

Those images of spiritual marital bliss faded into the reality that growing spiritually together as a couple takes time, perseverance, and hard work.

Over the last few years, we've found something that works. And when you find something that works when it comes to spiritual disciplines, do it and keep on doing it! [Tweet this]

We sit on the couch beside each other in the morning and read whatever we're reading.

As we read, we sometimes hmmm or oooh-ahhhh aloud, signifying we've found something special, then we share what we're reading and our responses. It's natural. Non-forced. The practice works for us.

When we're done, we each read a prayer aloud from Walter Brueggemann's Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth. Then we spend time in prayer—for our families, our leaders, our friends, our world, and yes, you!—together aloud. Though we took a break from this, we’re back again.

Brueggemann has a gift to bring hidden thoughts of the soul to light before God. Over the course of this fall, I wanted to share Walter Brueggemann with you every Wednesday. I believe his prayers, his words are laden with wonder. The wonder of honesty. The wonder of trust. The wonder of love. The wonder of beauty.

You’re invited to join us for "Wednesdays with Walter" as we dive deeper in our relationships with God.

Below, you’ll find a poem Brueggemann wrote in light of September 11, 2001.

Read through silently. Recite it aloud. May it become our prayer today and always as we face fears, anxieties, and worries.

Larger than fear

We do not really know about running and hiding.
We do not have any real sense, ourselves, of being under assault,
—for we live privileged, safe lives,
—learning in a garden near paradise.
Nonetheless the fear and the prayer
—live close beneath the surface…
———enemies we cannot see,
———old threats lingering unresolved from childhood,
———wild stirrings in the night that we cannot control.
And then we line out our imperative petitions,
—frantic… at least anxious;
—fearful… at least bewildered;
Turning to you, only you, you… nowhere else.
In the midst of our anxiety, confidence wells up,
In our present stress, old well-being echoes.
We speak and the world turns confident and grateful,
—not because we believe our own words,
—but because of your presence,
———your powerful, bold, reliable presence
——————looms large,
——————larger than fear,
——————larger than anxiety,
——————large enough… and in our small vulnerability,
—————————we give thanks.

On reading Psalm 54, after the World Trade Center bombing, Sept 26, 2001.

Father, may we rest in the truth that you are larger than any fear, anxiety, or worry. When we face the monsters in our lives, may we find comfort in your presence. Amen.

What spiritual discipline have you found useful in your life?  In your marriage?

Pick up a copy of Walter Brueggemann's Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth, from Amazon, here.

18 responses to How to Trust God Even When You’re Afraid (Wednesdays with Walter)

  1. Brueggemann’s words, here, are a powerful antidote to the fear that can hiss so loudly in our ears. Thank you for sharing them today.

    We’ve found, too, that if “it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. And in particular, reading Scripture – out loud – together, and even to each other, is a discipline that connects us and allows us to move forward together spiritually. We each hear the same Words, but are able to discuss what was planted in our hearts, individually.

  2. Interest in reading your book.

  3. Thank you so much for your encouragement always to rest in the presence of God, the place from which we draw all we need to survive.

    I would love an opportunity to win a copy of the book Leading and Loving It.


  4. I sure needed to hear this today struggling with teenagers I constantly have to focus on how big God is and driv away my fear.

    My husband and I recently started praying together and sharing the devotions we read.
    Maybe it’s our teenagers that has brought us to our knees together. Whatever it takes! But it’s such a blessing to be able to share spiritually. Thanks for this article.

  5. On Jan 1, 2013 I changed my work hours so I could arrive 1 hour later than I had been…BUT I didn’t change my alarm clock. My alarm goes off at 6 AM even though I don’t have to be in until 9 AM – this way I have no excuse about being too rushed to take time for the Lord. I have spend the 1st hour of everyday with Him for the last 8+ months…what a way to start my day! The other thing that really works for me to change up what I’m doing in that hour. Sometimes I’m on-line (like now) reading something of a spiritual nature, sometimes I reading a devotional, sometimes I’m working on a Bible study, sometimes I pray, listen, jut be still or journal OR some combination of all of the above. I am a creature of habit but sometimes doing the same thing over and over makes it stale…so I switch it up…the only thing I don’t change is the commitment to meet with Him.
    After 13 years of marriage we are still working on what works for us there…ha ha.

  6. Hello Margaret, thanks for sharing from Walter Brueggemann. I like your posts, and I have been following them. They are very helpful. However, I have a problem with this author. I am not sure if Brueggemann’s God is the God of the Bible. His Old Testament Theology says it all. Brueggemann thinks that the God of the Bible is a ‘loose cannon’, ‘obsessed with self’, he ‘exists only int he text’ of the Bible and ‘nowhere else’! It is very postmodern theology. How can we reconcile his view of God of the Bible and his devotion. I am not sure whether his god is a ‘universal spirit’, as it is for many thinkers who do not want to identify that spirit with any known god.

    I attended his seminar at SBL 2008 in Boston. He was responding to another evangelical theologian, and when the latter disagreed with him and stood his ground, he was very angry. At the end of the seminar, he didn’t even talking to anyone, left angrily.

    His writings have unsettled many evangelicals, but strengthened many liberals. I am not sure if you should go ahead with your present project of using his books. May be he changed in the meantime. I may be wrong. The LORD bless your ministry Margaret!

    • The team at Margaret Feinberg has learned the grace to appreciate the wisdom, depth, and different perspective of a wide range of thinkers–even when we disagree about some things.

      We are sorry you don’t find strength or encouragement or the beauty found in this this prayer on a most difficult day.

      Grace and peace to you.

  7. I too have experienced the frustrating awkwardness of trying to make a spiritual discipline work for both my husband and I. Thank you Margaret, for sharing honestly your own struggles and encouragement to keep searching.

  8. That first line grabbed me. it’s one of those REAL struggles many Christian couples have: including us, a pastoral couple ! It’s taken us years to have the courage to give ourselves permission to find our groove and we’re not quite there. For us, it’s sustaining what works. Send along a prayer sister Margaret!

  9. Thank-you for sharing this, Margaret. My husband and I recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary and I know you and your hubby will do the same next week. We have found ourselves in the exact same scenario as you…it feels forced. But, we have continued to persevere. We try to be very selective about what Bible study we commit to doing together. We L.O.V.E.D. “Experiencing God”, but even that took us longer to get through than it probably should. Above all, we offer each other grace because our schedules fly in opposite directions. And, we truly love being a worship setting together even though my arms may fly up sporadically as I SHOUT to the Lord while he sits there, meditative, sometimes not even mouthing the words. The Lord brought us together. He will lead us to come before His throne together. It doesn’t mean we have to be just alike as we do so. BLESSINGS Mrs soon to be 10 year married, cancer free woman and child of God.

  10. In my marriage we also struggle with sharing what we learn/how we’re growing. I’m going to try your idea, Margaret. Thank you!

  11. Hi,

    I notice that there is no reply to Augustine Pagolu’s question. Is there a reason for this?

    Thank you.

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