On Fear

Yesterday was a rainy July fourth holiday from sunup to sundown. A hurricane along the coast kept people indoors and all celebratory events rescheduled. The loud booms, squeals and pops reminded me of this as I lay in bed the following night. My little dog, Brody huddled in fear beside me. The sounds of the fireworks are unfamiliar and unpredictable. At the loudest cracks his little body quivers, he sits up ready to bolt. His head erect, his ears alert as another shrapnel of sound explodes. He settles down again beside me unusually close and refuses to leave. “You’re safe” I tell him in a soft voice. “Don’t be afraid.” My language is foreign to him, he cannot understand my words of consolation, though perhaps my hand resting on his back brings a certain assurance.

Suddenly I hear God’s voice in my own, God’s words echoing back to me. “You’re safe” “don’t be afraid“. But so often it’s as if I don’t know God’s language, I can’t understand his words or else I don’t believe them. I realize how silly it is for Brody to be frightened of distant fireworks. How perfectly secure he is. With a powerful human knowledge and experience I possess this information. There is no doubts or maybe’s of what if’s in my mind eye. No harm will come to him. Brody does not know this. The unknown frightens him. Just like it does me.

The future, the unseen, the far off and the different, all become perceived threats of danger or pain in this darkened world. I cry out, I whimper, I shake, and I cling to God during the times when the thunder of life booms. I listen to my own voice of fear and in trepidation, instead of hearing God’s comforting truth based on his omniscience.

Last week driving home in the worst rainstorm we have ever been in. With zero visibility my eyes searched for signs of the car in front of us. My heart beat moved to the chant of the rain beating the windshield. My own head and neck erect and anxious. I forgot to breathe. What if…and then my mind plays the video… the fear settles in. I didn’t really know, how very far the danger was from me. From God’s perspective it was sparklers three towns over.

Teachers in the fall, a new job, a pain in my chest, a lonely house, decreasing funds, raising children,…the list goes on and on of what I don’t know, what I can’t see, potential disasters and accidents it seems are just waiting to pounce on me when I take this corner. This unknown can be frightening. But like Brody who is shaking in fear at the threat which penetrates his heart, he shouldn’t be afraid, because in reality he doesn’t know…how safe he really is and how pleased I am when he lives like it.

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