Tag Archives: fear

I Don’t Know ‘Bout That

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. ~Rabindranath Tagore

Excited fear.

I feel it in the pit of my stomach when I hope something is true, but maybe, just maybe, I got it all wrong.

You get a call from another company about a job, but it’s above your level of expertise. Was it an elbow nudge from God saying Go for it?

You’ve made it through the second month of pregnancy, longer than ever before. You don’t tell anyone the news, but your whole body glows with anticipation. Is this finally the blessing?

The visa you’ve been applying for makes it to the last hurdle. Will you leap over this final obstacle and be a missionary? Is God really going to send you?

The shepherds were out in the field. It was late. It was dark. It was surreal.

An angel appeared and the night was lit bright as day with the glory of the Lord. The angel’s message? “The Messiah has been born.” (Luke 2:9 ff)

The legend. The myth. The anticipation. The excited fear.

The shepherds have just been told that what they have waited for all their lives has just come true.

But can they really trust the messenger? Did they really hear what they thought they heard? They head to Bethlehem to see if these are angels of God or messengers of lies. Were they having hallucinations or were the Heavenly Hallelujahs real?

They don’t say anything until they see for themselves that the baby is in the manger just as they were told. Then their fears are transformed into faith that they just have to share.

“When they had seen him, they spread the word. . .” (Luke 2:17)

Listen to God. Then go check it out. See if what you think he has said is truly for you. And after you kneel at the manger, let your excited fear turn into ecstatic faith.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 NIV

Walking Through the Fog

Truth is the torch that gleams through the fog without dispelling it. ~Claude Adrien Helvetius
A warm, wet blanket wrapped itself around me, the last of the summer’s foggy mornings. The thickness of it bounced around me like a kid on Grandma’s bed.

Black asphalt greeted my feet with each step. I couldn’t see very far, but my perimeter was safe. Occasionally a car drifted past, driving  a safe distance and a safe speed, causing no alarm. Children’s voices called out to each other. The school bus inched past me and stopped ahead, the red flashing lights pulsing through the fog.

I could see the outlines of the children tossing balls and dolls to their mothers who waited with them. The kids clambered on board and the bus slid into the misty fog, a mysterious apparition blinking and fading into the unknown.

I’m a calm person overall. I don’t so much mind bad things happening, as long as I know the duration. I remember thinking in child labor, this wouldn’t be so bad if I knew how long it’s going to last. That’s how I’ve always been. I can handle anything as long as I know how long it’s staying.

I’m not completely unreasonable as to think I need to know my entire life; I just need to know the next fifty years. I have a friend who says she doesn’t need to know what is going to happen for fifty years, she just needs to be able to plan for thirty years. While my issue is sticking it out,  hers is preparedness.

My friend and I both need to peer through the fog and notice that the children are with their mothers. Just as they were safe leaving their homes, holding Mom’s hand and walking through the fog, they were safe at the distant bus stop, as well.

God walks with me through the fog. He directs each step to land safely on the asphalt, he holds the toys I toss to him, and he stands guard while I climb onto the bus.

But he doesn’t wave goodbye through the foggy morning, returning home to his duties. No, God climbs on the bus with me.

He is my past, my present,  . . . and my future.

Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
    that flutters over its young,
spreading out its wings, catching them,
    bearing them on its pinions,
the Lord alone guided him,
    no foreign god was with him.

Dt 32:11-12 ESV

Great Dad?

jail cellLittle Al was the typical five year old child. He had cherubic cheeks, liked to play cops and robbers, and adored his parents. One day his father called Al into the study.

“You know how to get to the police station. Do you not?” His strict father asked.

“Yes,” Al quickly answered.

“Good. Take this note to the police chief. Make sure to wait for an answer.”

Young Al grasped the note tightly in his fist and ran all the way to the police station on the most important errand of his life. He arrived out of breath but certain of his task.

“I’m to wait for an answer,” he told the police chief.

The middle-aged man opened the note, read it, and then looked down at little Al. He read the note again and then looked intently at the small boy. “Follow me,” the police chief beckoned with a bewildered grin.

The two walked through the labyrinth of offices and jail cells until they reached the furthest cell. Before Al knew what was going on, he found himself locked inside the cell and the police chief walked away.

Al’s cries echoed throughout the empty chambers. No one came to help. After a ten-minute eternity the policeman returned to release the frightened boy. “That’s what happens to naughty boys,” he said as Al ran down the hall and out to the street.

Al never knew what it was that he had done to deserve the frightening punishment. He spent the rest of his childhood lonely and friendless, haunted by fears and phobias.

Perhaps some of you had a father like Al’s. You feared him. You were unsure of his motivations, unsure of his love. Father’s Day is not a holiday of happy remembrances for you. Then to make it worse, you are told that God is your father.

I don’t have any words or strategies to help you. My own father was nothing but loving and kind to me. But this I do know: my father failed me on many occasions. Not because he was a hateful, strict despot, but because he was an imperfect human. All fathers, no matter how good or how bad, fail their children.

Except, of course, for our heavenly father who is perfect in all of his ways. His love and protection, and even his discipline, are exactly what we need. Be sure to tell him Happy Father’s Day and thanks for being such the perfect dad.

And what about Al? Well, he grew up to put to use all of his childhood experiences. He was Alfred Hitchcock.

 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6