"Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands..... Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes." Psalm 112:1;6-8
I hate bad news. Always have.
I remember one of the first times that bad news really hit me. I don't remember how old I was, but I was young (maybe 8 or 9). My mom and dad had to let me know that my infant cousin had been run over by a car in his own driveway and killed. I was about 11 years old or so when the next wave of bad news came. My baseball coach from my championship team was killed in a car accident on a rainy night in Georgia. I still remember my parents coming into my bedroom and sitting on my bed in the dark telling me the news.
And that was not the last time I would get bad news. Not by a long shot.
"Your great grandmother died." "Your grandmother died." "Your grandad died." "Your grandmother has Alzheimer's." "Your high school buddy and baseball teammate wrapped his car around a pole driving drunk - he didn't make it." "Your father-in-law died." "Your child is in distress in the womb and not getting enough oxygen - we are going to have to do an emergency C-section." I did not like the way any of that news felt.
You have your list too. We all do. Bad news is that thing you brace yourself for. If someone says to us, "I have some good news and bad news," we always want the bad news first, because we want some hope of good news to follow it - some antidote to the poison we feel we just swallowed. And it seems that even trying to brace yourself for bad news doesn't work. It doesn't matter if I am "seated" or standing or eating cracker jacks - bad news is bad news and there is no armor to defend against it.
Or is there?
The Psalmist of about 3,000 years ago had some ancient insight that we should pay attention to - especially those like me who hate bad news:
A heart that trusts in the LORD is secure, and it fights against the fear of bad news.
Seems simple. It isn't. Not when you are facing bad news in real life. But though it is not simple, it is yet very true. Trust is the foundation of having a secure heart. A heart that doesn't trust God, trusts itself. And a heart that trusts itself and its control quickly spirals downward when you get news that is both bad and beyond your control. You have no choice but to panic really. It's all your heart can do when you trust yourself.
Trusting God, however, brings perspective. Hope. Peace. We will be taken aback by bad news - we always are - but we don't have to be so shaken that our core crumbles. Why? Because our trust in God's goodness and control and higher ways will stabilize our hearts.
I keep trying to remind myself of that because bad news will come again - it just can't help itself. But I don't have to live in fear of it because God is trustworthy and will cause my heart to be steadfast and secure.