July 1, 2014
I want to tell you about the bravest thing I ever saw a kid do. I’m sure it’s not the bravest thing ever, but it’s the best I have seen with my own two eyes. I have to warn you that this is about my children so if you have a hard time with “braggy parents” then you may want to skip this rumination. I do need to say that I’m not really trying to be “braggy.” Frankly I’m a little in awe. Well, here’s the story:
Years ago Ellen and I and our three youngest children were at some friends’ house for a picnic. I’m not sure of my kid’s ages at that time but it was probably Alissa 5, Ben 8, Rebekah 10…. Or somewhere around there. The adults were around the back of the house and the kids were in the front across the street at a playground. Suddenly Rebekah came running around the corner of the house yelling and crying “Bees, bees!” She had been stung several times on her stomach. I ran (I could actually run back then… sort of) around to the front of the house only to my horror to see that a swarm/cloud of bees had descended onto the playground…. And Ben and Alissa were in the middle of it.
Honestly my initial reaction was “I’m not going into that,” but that thought vanished pretty quickly. I ran into the swarm and found that Alissa was “frozen” in place because a bee had crawled down into one of her sneakers between the tongue of the shoe and her foot. She was afraid to move. Ben had been stung several times but – are you ready for it? He wouldn’t leave her. When I arrived on the scene with bees totally surrounding us… flying everywhere… he was standing beside her very calmly saying to her, “It’s okay, it’s okay…” I smashed the bee in her shoe, scooped her up and we ran for it. To this day Alissa has an inordinate fear of bees. I’m not sure if it stems back to that day. I don’t know where Ben got the courage but I have never forgotten what he did. I doubt I ever will.
I once heard a pastor say “If fear were not a factor in your life what could you do for the kingdom?” Very quickly that made me aware of how much my life is controlled by fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of criticism, fear for the safety of my kids and Ellen, fear for the direction of our culture and society… just fear.
I know someone is going to say something like: “You’re a Christian… you’re not supposed to be afraid.” Notice I never said I am endorsing fear, or that I want to have fear. It’s part of my old nature to go it alone and not trust in God in some things.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is found in Joshua 1. Joshua was about to take on a frightening leadership role (replacing Moses) and his first assignment was to lead the Israelites into war. If there was ever a place for fear… this is it.
Joshua Installed as Leader
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Notice God says on three separate occasions to “be strong and courageous.” Is that a carte-blanch statement… that we should always just be “strong and courageous” and not have fear? I think not. Notice the context… as long as we are in Gods will and following his “law,” i.e., “Word” then we have cause to think that God will walk with us… and that there is no reason for fear. (Please don’t take this to mean that things will ALWAYS go as we want). Are there times when we should fear? Yes, when we chose to walk outside of God’s Word and His Will. The Bible is filled with stories of those who opposed God and got their just dues. If they weren’t… they should have been afraid!
The truth is this… there is likely not one person reading this who does not have times of fear. Dealing with fear along with its close cousin “worry” can be very difficult. I can only say this. Walk with God, walk in His Will and obey His Word. It will be okay, it will be okay, it will be okay…