Sometimes you happen across something that is so simple, yet so poignant. You just have to share it – and laugh.
Someone just recently posted (on a popular media sharing site) a short video about a young man who experienced seven seconds of unimaginable terror. Perhaps you have seen the video. If you haven’t seen it, it is well-worth looking up (I looked it up under: “Guy freaks out about touching a stuffed animal.”) I don’t know the circumstances surrounding this video (it seems to have something to do with a radio station and a challenge), but it’s message comes through loud and clear. Fear can make raving lunatics of us all…
The video is quite hilarious because we know what is happening. But the person who is blindfolded doesn’t. He is in absolute terror – so overcome by his fear, that his reaction is uncontrollable. He doesn’t know that the “animal” inside the box is totally harmless. To him, the “animal” is a horrific, ravenous, “man-eater.” His response, especially after he actually touches it, is priceless. He is literally overwhelmed and consumed with his fear – a terror that is (from our perspective) completely unfounded (and tremendously amusing!)…
Through things like this, I am reminded at how debilitating fear can be. Our fears can plague us, haunt us, paralyze us, and cause us to seek safety and comfort at all costs. And most of the time our fears are totally unfounded – and unreasonable. We are afraid of things that could happen – of what might happen. We are terrified of things that are, probably, never going to happen – and of things that have no ill-intent towards us, at all. We are afraid of people. Of circumstances. Even of opportunities that come our way. We are defined and terrorized by the unknown.
And we all deal with fear. Everyone is afraid of something. And that fear has a way of profoundly effecting our lives. Usually, in ways that produce nothing positive for us. Our fears can be deadly to our thinking, our relationships, our hopes and dreams. So often, we do not do the things we desire to do with our lives, because we are controlled, and debilitated, by our fears. We live in fear.
I find it very interesting that, in the pages of the Bible, (most often) when people have a divine encounter, the first words spoken (in that encounter) are about fear. An angel shows up, with a message from God, and must first calm people down – get them to stop shaking in their sandals. We see it time and again. God shows up (or a messenger from God) and people find themselves in absolute fear. He has to speak calm into their lives before He can even get to the message He wants to deliver.
Then I am reminded that fear is a natural thing. It is only natural for us to be afraid. But if we are going to really get a hold of something from the supernatural, the first thing we have to do is get rid of our fear. In so many ways, fear is our greatest enemy. And until fear is defeated, we will always be on the losing end of things.
The only way I know to get beyond my fear is to live beyond myself – or rather, to trust in Someone who sees the whole picture. If the guy in the video knew what we knew (because we can see the whole scene), he wouldn’t be fearful in the least. If he could see that the animal in the box was a lifeless toy, he would be able to act in complete calm. There would be NO fear.
And this is the whole point of trusting your life to God. He sees everything. He knows exactly what we are going through. And His abiding Presence can change our whole perspective.
We don’t really need to see what’s going on in our lives, if we have Someone watching over us – Someone Who is aware of every nuance of every detail of our lives. Someone Who loves us and Who is committed to our wholeness and well-being. Someone Who will never leave us or forsake us. Someone Who can actually allow us to experience what the Psalmist declared: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me…” (Psalm 23:4)
This same Good Shepherd took the time to remind us: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble (i.e. things that can cause you to be fearful!). But take heart! I have overcome the world… Do not let your hearts be troubled (full of fear!). You believe in God; believe also in Me.” (John 16:33; 14:1; NIV)
When faced with fear (and it will come) we have a choice to make. Handle it ourselves (the best way we know how); OR shift our focus to the One Who has overcome the world (and every situation it can throw at us!).
Let’s see… Trust in my own (limited) ability (AND inability to control the circumstances of my life)… OR trust in the Almighty One, Who has promised to always hold me in the palm of His hand. This is, truly, a no-brainer!
Fear (and it’s cousin, worry) simply reveal where our trust lies. It is the fruit of the reality of the destitution of our own inability. Fear is all about seeing life from the perspective of all the unknowns out there – and the stark realization that our own ability is never going to be enough. No wonder fear can so devastate our lives.
I would encourage each of us to simply take stock of what it is that we fear. Honestly, look at what scares us, what paralyzes us, what prevents us from being, and doing, what we believe we can be and do – if fear were defeated, and eliminated, from controlling our lives.
And renew your desire to daily surrender to the Prince of Peace – allowing Him to do what He does best. His promise is abundantly clear: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you… Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27; NIV)
It really is up to us. Allow fear to beat us up and wear us down. OR allow the Good Shepherd to guide us into the fullness of all of the goodness He brings into our lives.