Feb 13, 2010

A Very Real Problem

“Do not fear.”

How many times does the Lord say this?  In both the Old and New Testaments, He takes pains to reiterate the point to the thousandth power.  Do not be anxious.  Do not fear.

It strikes me that He wouldn’t say such a thing if it weren’t true.  While we intellectually assent, in our hearts we actually operate as if He’s giving us a platitude.

God:  “Don’t be afraid, as it will just generally make life feel worse.”

Me:  “But there is a flesh-eating monster coming at me.”

God:  “Feeling anxious about it will just make your last moments alive stressful.  Try to relax.”

I have to say, re-reading what I just wrote is making me laugh really, really hard.  What a big, fat lie we have believed about God!  Perhaps I should stop talking in the plural and just take responsibility for my own ridiculousness.  What a lie I have believed about God.

Reality is more along the lines of a Mission Impossible movie, where the hero never dies or is defeated, no matter how many bullets he takes, and the girl is always saved. 

If the Rescuer says not to fear, as the girl being rescued, the response that most accurately takes into account His undefeatable strength and His determination to save alive the one He loves, is for me to say, “Ok, I won’t be afraid.” Response number two would be to start training my eyes on Him while the flesh-eating monster charges, watching to see what adventurous plan and strength-requiring feat He will come up with to keep that monster from getting past Him to me.  Because the fact is, He will come up with a plan – one that probably seems outlandish, too risky, potentially fatal, and requiring absolutely too much trust on my part. 

Ahh, there’s the rub.  Too much trust on my part.  I recently read a book where the girl had to climb on the hero’s back and hold on while he lowered himself from a cathedral’s tower using only a thin rope.  (I began to think she must have been a very small girl, and he a very strong man to manage such a thing.  But that is the privilege of authors of fiction…being able to write, well – fiction!)  Anyway, maybe a man couldn’t really do that.  But if we were to think of God’s feats in our lives (be they physical or spiritual) in a physical picture, that would be a pretty accurate one. 

God: “Hold on to me, while I do something impossible and hair-raising.”

Me: “You mean that flesh-eating monster isn’t going to get me?  There’s only You and three feet between him and me.”

God: “Of course not.  I told you not to be afraid of him, didn’t I?”

Someone once described fear to me as a tiny little demon in the dirt raising a big cloud of dust.  I needed to stop believing what it said about how big it was. 

But let me say this.  Even if it’s a huge demon, or circumstance, or enemy…raising a very real problem…God is sure to win.  We know it because He told us not to be afraid.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That cathedral scene was one of my favorites. She's afraid of heights, right? But she says "I trust you," and goes over the wall. Possibly the most romantic moment in the story.