Written February 17, 2017
*Editorial comment related to last week’s Rumination. In the past week Ellen and I have wandered through various venues with literally thousands of people if not 10’s of thousand. I have not seen more than 30 couples holding hands… just sayin.
At the gracious invitation of Ellen’s younger brother Daniel and his lovely wife Kelly, Ellen and I spent this past week in Orlando Florida. Seriously I don’t get it. People talk about Florida likes it’s some sort of “heaven on earth.” Outside of the perfect weather, exotic birds, beautiful flowers, majestic palm trees, green landscapes, clear blue skies, flawless pot hole free roads, everything Disney, sandy beaches, beautiful resorts, amazing architecture, warm swimming pools, bright sunshine in February and maybe a couple of other things… it really isn’t much different from McKeesport in the winter. Um… okay… well… maybe it’s a little different.
I am 62 years old and thanks to my daughter Rebekah and her free Disney employee tickets we spent our anniversary at Epcot. It was WAY cool. Well, outside of the “space ride to Mars” that I went on ALONE because someone who shall remain nameless refused to go with me. She missed the opportunity to suffer motion sickness for most of the afternoon after the G forces to clear our atmosphere, weightlessness, and the final crash landing on the Red Planet. If you haven’t experienced the ride I can’t really help you very much. I can tell you this however… if you go to Epcot, want to fly to Mars and they give you the choice of “Intense vs less intense”… choose wisely!
Today we drove 90 minutes to Florida Southern College to meet up with Ellen’s older brother John and his wife Carolyn. (You can see whose family this trip is all about!) We had no idea that this College has the largest “collection” of Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings in the world. Normally I’m not into architecture but it was amazing seeing all of these historic structures designed by the greatest architect of the 20th century in a somewhat out of the way place in southern Florida. We had a wonderful time exploring the campus. I even got a short private tour of one closed building by the head financial director of the college. Too long to tell here, but it pays to greet people and to be friendly to them.
Tomorrow we board a plane in the afternoon for the 2 hour flight back home… connecting in Super Bowl losing Atlanta. Honestly… I’m not a big fan of flying. I’ll do it, but I avoid it as much as I can. I would have gladly driven down here but the time taken to do that would have seriously curtailed my opportunities to get sick in Epcot. I don’t like it when the plane jumps all over the place and I pretty much white knuckle it wherever I go. I have tried to get a handle on this fear by analyzing the reasons behind them. I’m pretty sure the anxiety finds its roots, not in the rough flying, but in the potential 600 mile an hour stop on the ground.
That raises an interesting question… is “fear” sinful? Is it lack of faith in God? Do you feel guilty when you experience “fear?” I do at times. I doubt there are many folks who do not have a fear of something. The admitting of it is not a strong suit for some. It may be the obvious things like snakes or heights. Or it may be things like fear of failure or fear of dreadful things happening to our children or grandchildren. Admonitions to refrain from fear are found over 100 times in the Bible. Joshua is told by God’s messenger 3 times in the beginning of the book named after him not to fear. We’re told in Luke that Jesus’ pours oozed blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. No doubt taking on the sins of the world, much less the horrors of the cross, were frightening indeed. Fear, it seems, is not sinful in some situations. As a matter of fact, it’s a response built into our systems that likely keeps us safe on many occasions. Would that Eve had had a bit of fear!
So if fear is not in and of itself sinful… when does it become sinful? I suspect that the line is somewhere tied up in our occasional lack of faith. When fear debilitates us because our faith is negligible then it has likely become sinful. When we find ourselves unable to see or follow the hand of God because of our fears then we walk a path that ought to cause us to be afraid.
Years ago I heard a pastor ask this of a group of clergy, “If fear were not a factor in your life, what could you do for the Kingdom of God?” I was immediately convicted and recognized how my life is controlled by fear. As I said earlier… I, for sure, have fears. And I grieve over the things I have not done over the years because I have been afraid.
How about you? What things could you do in your life or for Jesus if fear were not a factor?
Oh, one more thing… there is no fear in Florida. Well unless you are afraid of “mice” because there is one giant one here and he seems to be EVERYWHERE!