Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. (Psalm 91:6)
The Psalmist portrays pestilence as walking in darkness. Truly, it is shrouded in mystery, both in its cause and in its cure. Like an enemy stabbing in the dark or an unknown assassin who may strike anywhere at any moment, pestilence enters you know not where or how and may be contracted anywhere at anytime. How can anxiety be escaped in a disease-infected place where one may inhale with any given breath the fatal virus?
It is said that a German physician prescribed Psalm 91 as the best medicine in times of plague and pestilence. It is, after all, as this psalm prescribes, a divinely inspired vaccine that can inoculate us from fear and fear’s manifold maladies. A spoonful of this precious psalm’s promises of God’s presence and protection produces an inexplicable internal tranquility, even in the midst of the most threatening external calamities.
Along with the dark danger of pestilence, there are also the dangers of noonday. Many perils of life are fearfully straightforward, not lurking invisibly like the infectious disease. There is the horror of wars approaching drumbeat, the darkening sky of the gathering tempest, the initial tremor of an earthquake, and the parched land and failing crops proceeding famine. All of these are causes of great anxiety that afford our foeman fear the opportunity to seize our hearts.
According to the Psalmist, it is only those brave souls who seek shelter in God who can rise above fear. Anxiety can lay no hold on them, not even in plague-stricken places. They remain calm in the stormy tempest. They know inner peace, even when outwardly surrounded by bloody war. They remain unshakable when the earth trembles and spiritually well-nourished in a famine-stricken land. Neither terrors by night nor horrors by day can scare them, since their security is in their Savior’s sheltering arms, not the sterility of their environment nor the clear skies of an uncloudy day.