faith

fear itself

When we moved into our current house, we discovered a lot of shtuff laying about. Whoever lived here last just gave up packing we guess. The shed was full of all kinds of things widely varied in usability and we found odds and ends all over the house. And under the house. And under the deck.

One of those things was this creepy little statue. And by creepy I mean otherwise sweet and cute kids holding a bird but I’ve seen too many horror movies. Meaning more than one with an otherwise sweet and cute kid in it who turns out to be terrifying. So my husband thought it would be funny … well the beginning of that sentence alone is horrifying… let me back up.

When I had found the creepy little statue, I wanted to throw it out. Then I thought that’s ridiculous and decided to conquer my fears and put it in the back woods. Now our house is in a development that is very, um, developed, but our house backs up to a wooded area. One of the reasons we really liked it. We have a fully enclosed chain link fence and it has a gate in the front, a gate in the back and on one side. We love being outside and the girls get to run around without me worrying about running into the woods or street alone. Well, they have been told to never open the gates. So far so good.

The other day I noticed the gate to the back woods was opened. I was a little worried that the girls had gone back there without me noticing – they were both in the house at the time I saw it. And then I realized that my husband had been back there earlier and probably just forgot to shut it. As I walked out to the yard to close it… I noticed…

GAAAH!!!

Of course, within a split second I laughed AT MYSELF because it was ridiculous of me to be so completely creeped out by this. But like I said, I have seen one too many horrific things and I tend to have a pretty active imagination. Of course it was my husband. Of course he was just having a laugh. At my expense. And of course I forgave him. Well, mostly…

Because today…

blog-statuedeck.jpg

Laugh it up, fuzzball. I’m blogging you. PFFFTTTPPHHHBBBHH

BUT SERIOUSLY

It makes me think about fear. What is it? We’ve been told that love casts out fear. We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

I really think there is no such thing as “irrational” fear. You can’t tell someone to not fear what they fear. You can explain the likelihood and statistics of their fears coming true, but generally speaking it doesn’t stop that fear from surfacing. It may cut it shorter than it could have been. It could make that fear less resilient, or less intrusive to their lives. But when that split second of overwhelming panic hits, there is no reasoning with it. Of course that statue didn’t move on its own.

That doesn’t mean I won’t blink all day.

That doesn’t mean I am waiting for my husband to put it next to the window or in my bed.

Now he can’t, right?! Right?

Fear grips us. Fear cripples us. Fear makes us do silly things.

That time I walked into the living room and my kids were both just standing there in the middle of the room staring at I have no idea what.

That time I heard a noise behind me while going on a hike and there was nothing there.

That time I cried out to God because someone was following me home.

That time I had no idea how I was going to pay rent. Again.

That time I worried about nuclear war. Again.

That time I forgot how much Jesus loves me.

That time I forgot what it felt like to be loved.

We fear because life is fearful. We see the storms. People try to convince us that it’s ok. That we’ll make it through. That we are stronger than the storm. That it will make us stronger.

We fear because we know this just simply isn’t true. Or at least, it isn’t promised. We aren’t stronger than every storm. We may not “make it” through. We may capsize. We may drown. We may completely and totally fail. We’ll have doubt and we’ll have exhaustion. We’ll get tired of treading water. We’ll get tired of telling people we’re treading water. And we’ll just sink.

And when I am sinking down, sinking down, sinking down…

I have wondered in the past was Jesus afraid? Did Jesus fear? Is being afraid a sin? I think the answer is no and no and no. I think that the knowledge and confidence of the end result, the purpose of it all, the pursuit of salvation all carried Jesus in the darkest times. Fear wasn’t what he felt. (Maybe someone can correct me on this if I’m wrong. Maybe I know someone with an advanced degree on Divinity and such.)

But I think he knew fear. I think he felt the trepidation that goes with outright fear. Fear is about danger and threats. Jesus knew the danger and he knew the threats. He knew sin and death and satan. He knew that things were not right. He knew that the dark was treacherous and would claim many lives. He also knew what he had to do was fraught with peril. Lots and lots of peril. He knew it would be overwhelmingly difficult and painful and horrific.

And he “laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul…”

O my soul, do not be afraid. We face our fears and we tell them, we sing to them, we shout to them: Do your worst! Jesus has won! I have my place in the ark though the storm will rage against me. Though I feel the weight of the waters over my head and my fear has paralyzed me from fighting. I don’t have to fight. Jesus is my strength. He has already conquered. He has already seen me, he has seen my life, my past, my future. He knows. He loves still. And He has bought my soul.

“O my soul” is a beautiful phrase to do a word search on in the Bible. O my soul, forget not God’s benefits. Why are you downcast? Find hope in God. Wait for God alone in silence. God has dominion in all places. Sin and wickedness will be no more. Bless the Lord, o my soul. In those moments of fear, I say to my soul, fear God alone. And He has found me wrapped up in the robes of Jesus himself.

So do your worst, creepy children. My hope is in the Lord.

But also in my husband’s good sense to love me well as Jesus’ representative in the flesh… ahem…

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