Fear

Your correspondent is not happy with the whispers in the wind of late.  It seems like everyone is getting fed a diet of fear on the daily…

I.Hate.Fear.

I’m not going to say that every mistake in my life was made because of fear, but the percentage runs at least 75%.   And the really BAD mistakes, the ones that had the nastiest consequences?  Those, those I made from fear.  Fear of man, for the most part.  -sigh-

I’m not going to say that I don’t fear any more.  Because I do.    I do, however, try very hard not to make my decisions based on fear.  I have very good reason.  I fear fear, if you will.

Contrariwise, the track record of the decisions I’ve made, shivering and quaking in my boots, ready to cry at any second because I was so scared, but walking forward ’cause that’s what needed doing?  Those decisions have worked out well.   (Frequently not in the immediate, but certainly in the long-term).

My intellectual analysis of a situation, based on experience and patterns?  Those?  Pfagh.  If it is possible to have a *negative* gift for prophesy (insofar as future-telling is concerned), that would be me.   What’s sad is that my pattern analysis is generally excellent… it’s the factors I don’t know about that throw me.

I think that’s what God is talking about in

James 4:13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.

The world around us is full of terrifying stuff right now.  There is every reason to add two and two and start building a bomb shelter.   Pattern analysis?  People – the birth pangs are coming closer, we need to boil some water!

Okay, fine – baby’s a-comin’.  But where will I be when that happens?  I don’t know.  What will need doing at that moment?  I don’t know.   What tools will I have?  Who will I need to protect?  I don’t know.   Stressing out and giving into anxiety?  Worthless.  I don’t have the information that I need in order to make those decisions.

I know that making myself stronger in character is a good idea.  I know that making myself stronger physically is a good idea.  Those generally *are* good ideas, on days ending in Y.  And I know that spending more time on my knees is a great idea.   God’s been working on me on that pretty intensively lately.   He’s confronted me with a good many things that I can’t do anything about – outside of the prayer closet.  MORE PRAYER.

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

God doesn’t tell me what will come next.  But He does tell me what to do *now*.   Today, this hour, this moment.   So, I do that.  And sometimes that’s insane.  But … He’s always had the situation under control.

So – a story of me being completely insane… this is about five years ago.  My son was in a theater group that met at a church, on the 3rd floor (accessed from the outside), on Friday nights.  I pulled up outside one night to pick him up.  9pm.  Dark, obviously.  The ground floor is surrounded by hedges … and this particular night, was apparently the meeting place for the local gang.

Fun.   Guess who forgot her cell-phone?  Yep.   So, I can’t call the cops.  I’m not going to go home, because my kid is up there – and those kids are going to start coming down the stairs soon, right into gangland central.   I can’t call the adults… again, no cell phone.   -sigh-  At least they look like junior gangbangers.

-rolls down passenger side window-  “Hi boys.  Whatcha all doin’ out here?”  “Oh we go to this church”.   “Now boys – I know you don’t go here, ’cause I’d have seen you”.  “Sure we do!”  “Mmmk”.  [dangit, that didn’t work][deep breath]

You know, by the time I got my window rolled up, my engine turned off, and my purse collected – they vaporized?  I watched those boys jump into cars left and right.  Because of ME.  (It is an article of conviction that anyone who runs from me is up to no good – because why would you run from me?  Ooo scary – nothin’ like 5’2″ pudgy women to strike the fear of … cupcakes? into a young man’s heart).

I was terrified.  But I didn’t have a choice – they were between me and my son – and there was no way I was going to let him (or any other kid) walk down those stairs.  Scared as I was, I had a lot better chance than an unsuspecting kid would.   And they ran.  Why?     They scattered like they’d heard sirens.  But there were no sirens.   I don’t know why they ran… but they did.  God had it.

But I had to get out of the car.  They didn’t start running until my door opened.

Contrariwise, I could tell you about the heartbreak when I was confronted by the thought of losing something precious unless I caved in to pressure to sin.  I could tell you about how many more tears I ended up crying, how much damage that did… well, I could tell you about that stuff if that was a suitcase I opened up for just anyone, which it is not.

I hate fear.  I hate seeing what paying attention to circumstances does to all of us.  I hate seeing fear turn into anger, despair, hatred – muck and mire and vomit and pain.

I have a lot more work to do in this vein – I confront fear every day.  And that makes me hate it more, every day.

Isaiah 41: 10  ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Yeah.  We might all get thrown to the lions next week.  It’s not all sunshine and roses.  But if so, God will be there.  There is nowhere we can go where God will not be with us, strengthening us for the task at hand.  If we give into fear, however, we can’t get on with our primary battle, which is done in the spiritual realm.

If we give into fear, we learn to hate our enemies – instead of love them.  If we give into fear, we learn to embrace all sorts of odd little rules intended to increase our “safety”, that really separate us from the work we are here on this planet to accomplish.  If we give into fear, we close our mouths.

Fear’s bad juju – unless you’re fearing God.

What will be, will be.  I don’t know the future, I do know upon Whom I depend.  When I get to the future, He’ll have the tools I need to do the job He has prepared for me to do.  I trust Him.

 

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