Fear! It can be a healthy emotion or at times a terrifying cage that locks someone into total inactivity. It can come from an event endured at point in our life, such as the death of a loved one, or friend. Perhaps it’s the fear of the future, the unknown. Maybe an event in our childhood results in a lifetime of panic at the very thought of a reoccurrence, like a house fire, or lightening striking close by. Then there are the fears instilled in us by a parent. Thunderstorms, snakes, spiders that strikes terror in the heart of our guardians many times becomes the same fear we operate on in our own life as adults.
Not all fear is unhealthy. A nature walk can become deadly if we act foolishly with the wildlife we encounter. Bears and poisonous snakes become deadly enemies if they are not given ample space. They will react in self-defense to the unknown danger in their life. Just as we wisely give plenty of room to growling snarling dogs in our own self-defense.
In today’s society, many wrap fear around their shoulders. They live, eat, breathe and sleep fear. They seem to be, as the saying goes, ‘afraid of their own shadow’. Recently this picture came vividly alive with my youngest granddaughter. Two-year-old Abbie played in the yard, while her mom sat on the steps reading. Her sisters were riding bikes and playing. Suddenly, Abbie began screaming and crying, running for mom as she constantly looked behind her. She believed something was chasing her. Since no one and nothing was close, my daughter could not imagine what was the problem.
As the picture continued to unfold, she noticed that this terrified little girl was looking directly behind her. Abbie jumped straight into her mom’s waiting arms still trying to escape the unseen enemy. Finally, reality hit! Abbie was being chased by her shadow. It moved when she did; right, left, across the yard and up the ramp. No matter where this little girl traveled, no matter what action she performed this unseen danger mockingly followed her. At this point, only the safety of her mother’s arms could satisfy her. It took a few minutes to convince her that she was okay. Why, even mom had the strange thing following her too.
This little event was terrifying to a two year old, and we couldn’t help but pity this frightened little girl. Now, months later our heart still aches for her plight; but the picture is humorous to us as adults. I wonder how often we operate in this same manner before the eyes of our heavenly Father. How many events in our life set our heart racing, yet in the eyes of the Lord, they are mere shadows? Often we project problems into the future, imagining the very worst scenario. We often forget that our Father is in total control. He knows it all from the very beginning of time until the very end of eternity.
Our experience is often similar to Abbie’s on that fateful day. An unseen terror is hot on our heels and yet we hectically run, unsure which direct to turn. We overlook the safety of our Father’s arms. He longs to wrap His divine love around us comforting and reassuring us, just as Abbie found in her mother’s arms that day. No event that takes place in our life is a surprise to Him. He is faithful and true, constantly watching with great care over His children.
May we learn to walk in the truth of His Word. Psalms 56:3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. Today, we can find the comfort we need at the feet of our Savior.
Isaiah 54:14 In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you.