David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord was with him. When Saul recognized this, he became even more afraid of him. 1 Samuel 18:14-15 

My daughter didn’t announce that she’d started a game of “Hide and Seek.” I just noticed the quiet and started looking for her, with growing concern when she didn’t respond to her name. I searched the house and went around the block calling for her with increasing urgency, eventually finding her silently crouched in the back of a dark closet, eyes sparkling with the joy of her win.  

I was beside myself. As relieved as I was, anger quickly replaced my fear. Feeling “scared” and feeling “angry” are next-door-neighbors in our brains. After incidents like “Hide and Seek,” I would cross my fingers to remind my kids how close those feelings go together. It’s a gesture they still use for shorthand when someone seems to lose their cool for no reason.  

“Scared and angry” – they show up together. Like “Bert and Ernie” or “Taylor and Travis.” If you invite one, you’ll end up meeting the other. 

It’s why Saul came unglued. As the anointed king of God’s chosen people, he had a lot to lose as it became obvious that the Lord was with David. “Scared and angry.” Whenever you encounter someone’s irrational anger, it most likely took root when they were overwhelmed by fear. 

Knowing these two emotions are closely related can help when anger proceeds from our fears. We can pause and address whatever made us afraid instead of lashing out.  

And when the people around us seem poised to fight, we can take a moment to empathize and consider what might have made this person fearful. God protected David when he fought the lion, the bear, and the giant Goliath. In the coming chapters, we’ll see David trust God and pass up opportunities to act out his own anger and fear against Saul. 

Instead of lashing out, like Saul, we can bravely face our fears, like David, with trust in God. 

Questions for reflection: 

  1. Maybe you didn’t fight a bear, but when did God come through for you? Reflecting on God’s faithfulness strengthens your trust, so make it a habit to take time for this. 
  2. If there’s a situation that fires you up, is there something you are afraid of that is hiding under your anger? Is this something you can entrust to God? 
  3. Do you know any people of faith who seem especially courageous? How does their faith make them different from the norm?