Weekly Devotional – Week of Monday, October 19, 2020

Weekly Devotional Fight, Freeze, or Flight, October 19, 2020 from Church of Our Savior on Vimeo.

Opening Prayer (from the Book of Common Prayer, Collects)

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and the comfort of your Holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Bible Reading – Psalm 118:1-9 (taken from the Daily Lectionary for October 21st)

1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

    for his steadfast love endures forever!

2 Let Israel say,

    “His steadfast love endures forever.”

3 Let the house of Aaron say,

    “His steadfast love endures forever.”

4 Let those who fear the Lord say,

    “His steadfast love endures forever.”

5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord;

    the Lord answered me and set me free.

6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.

    What can man do to me?

7 The Lord is on my side as my helper;

    I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord

    than to trust in man.

9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord

    than to trust in princes. (English Standard Version)




Devotional – Fight, Freeze or Flight

Over the past couple of years, I have attended a number of church safety training sessions.  It is a sad reality that these trainings are now a necessary part of leading a church, but the trainings have been helpful and informative on many levels.  The trainings have been led by members of our local police who have learned valuable lessons from many years of experience.  One of the key insights shared is the basic human response to a crisis. They break down our natural responses to imminent danger into three categories: FIGHT, FREEZE, or FLIGHT.


Some people, when faced with a life-threatening situation, naturally go into fight mode.  These people have a strong sense of confidence in their own abilities to handle crisis situations and take action.  One example of the “fight” reaction in a time of crisis is the members of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.  In the midst of terrorists hijacking their plane, a number of passengers made the decision to fight and as a result saved possibly thousands of lives.  Sadly, that decision cost them their lives in the process.  Not everyone has the natural reaction to fight in the face of danger.  Some in fact naturally freeze in their tracks.  The stress and fear of the moment are just too much for the human brain to process in a short amount of time.  Safety instructors will tell you that this is the worst possible response because it leaves you completely vulnerable to the situation.  The third natural reaction is flight.  Many of us, when faced with imminent danger, instinctually run away in search of safety.  Safety instructors will tell you that when in a crisis where your life is in peril, you must have already made up your mind what you will do.  They encourage you to visualize your response.  Decide beforehand whether you will fight or take flight in crisis situations so you can avoid the worst of all scenarios, simply freezing and leaving yourself completely vulnerable to the situation.


In our reading from Psalm 118 we are given some very basic safety instructions for life.  In verses 8 and 9 the Psalmist instructs, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.  It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”  In Hebrew the word that is translated as “refuge” refers to the place where you flee for protection.  When it comes to our spiritual well being it is always right to take flight in the midst of danger.  We are to flee, not to the hills, or to some fortress for safety, but rather into the sheltering arms of our God.  We are warned very clearly about looking to other people for our safety and wellbeing.  When it comes to our physical safety and wellbeing it is good and right to look to authorities for help and protection, but when it comes to our ultimate wellbeing, we are to take flight to no one by God Himself. 

Right now, we are experiencing crisis seemingly everywhere we turn.  Let us heed the words of Psalm 118 and flee to the sheltering arms of our God and Savior.  Looking to other people will only increase our vulnerability and fear.  When we take flight into the arms of our loving God through His Son Jesus Christ, we are promised freedom from the fears of an uncertain future.  The Lord is always on our side and helps us in our time of need.  Because of our Savior Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice for us, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”(Hebrews 4:16)  May this be our prayer and confidence today and every day.  Flee with confidence into the loving arms of our Lord.   

Closing Prayer (from the Book of Common Prayer, Confession of Sins)

God, our refuge and strength, true source of all godliness: Graciously hear the devout prayers of your people, and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who sits at your right hand to intercede for us, and who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns in everlasting glory. Amen.