This is the Day…Thursday
March 26, 2020
During my college years, I worked at a wholesale electrical supply company in Charlotte. I took care of the electrical inventory in the company warehouse. One of my co-workers was Ronnie Hildebran. Ronnie was a tall, lanky dude who lived with his wife and two boys in Mount Holly.
Ronnie and I had very different perspectives and attitudes toward God and even life in general. Ronnie was an intelligent and well-read man. We both loved to debate topics and would spend hours sharing our opinions and defending our beliefs. Though we were very different, there was a mutual respect which allowed us to become good friends.
Many Friday evenings, after work, Ronnie and I would go down to the banks of the Catawba River, under the I-85 bridge, and fish for hours. Ronnie and his family loved catfish. So, we would bait our hooks, toss them into the water and wait for one of those bottom dwellers to pass by. During those long waits between bites, Ronnie and I would talk about everything from social issues and theology to politics. And before the evening was done, many of the world’s problems were solved on the banks of the Catawba.
One evening the fish were biting very well. We didn’t solve many problems that evening but we sure did catch some ugly catfish. We stayed out there until after midnight. When we got back to Ronnie’s house, neither of us were sleepy, so we turned on the television and looked for a movie to watch. The only movie on at that late hour was a Stephen King movie, The Shining.
Ever seen it? If you haven’t, don’t! It will mess up your life! If you have seen it, then you know the sight of hotel hallways and children’s Big Wheels will make you break out in a cold sweat from now on. It was the scariest movie I have ever seen. When the movie ended, I had to go home alone, to an empty apartment. It was not a good night for sleeping.
Now, I know it was just a movie, but I discovered from that experience that I don’t like to be afraid. I imagine none of us do. However, fear is a natural human response and is sometimes beneficial to keep us safe. There are healthy fears that we learn as children. We learn not to touch the hot eye of a stove for fear that we will be burned. We learn not to step into traffic for fear we will be hit by a car. Or in my case, I learned not to talk back to Mamma for fear she will take away my breathing privileges. Call it fear or call it respect. Either way, it is a part of our natural sense of self-preservation.
But there are fears in life that can have a negative impact. Probably the worst would be our fear of the unknown. The thought that we cannot control or anticipate the events which affect our lives can cause anxiety, worry and fear. And we can tend to make matters worse by acting out of fear.
Certainly, we can look around our world and find many reasons to be fearful. Who would have ever dreamed we would have to live through a global pandemic! It is like something out of a George Orwell novel and much more real than a silly movie.
But we must remember that there is a spiritual aspect to our fears. Especially in times like these. Fear is not a consequence of faith. Fear is directly contrary to faith. To fear that which we cannot control is to say that God does not have our best interest in mind. It is just not scriptural. The consequence of faith is hope, not fear. And hope can only exist by God’s love. He is our hope. He is our only hope.
Don’t be afraid. Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. Don’t be afraid. Though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46) Don’t be afraid. Remember, in the end, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13)
Father help me walk beside you in the times when I might be afraid. Help me to find my comfort in you and put my hope in you. I am thankful that you have overcome, and you are my Father. Amen.