Read Joshua 1:1-9
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Fear betrays our ability to help ourselves by thinking clearly. Expecting the worst, people prefer to remain ignorant of the cause of their torment.” (Wisdom of Solomon 17:12-13 CEB)
I was just recently in a conversation with someone about the difference between the world I remember when I was growing up, and the world we are living in today. The conversation started around the fact that so many children, youth and young adults are suffering from levels of anxiety that I don’t remember existing when I was growing up. I remember dealing with depression as a teen, and I remember the anxiety that can well up due to bullying and things like that, but that kind of anxiety is different than the kind I find in today’s generations.
When I was growing up I knew that I needed to be aware of my surroundings and not talk to strangers. Still, even though I knew that, it was not like I ever came into an encounter with creepy, stalker-like strangers. One would hear of kids getting kidnapped, but it wasn’t on the news every day, nor did it really happen (to my knowledge) in my area while I was growing up. I never, EVER, had to worry about someone blowing the mall up, or someone coming into store and blowing everyone away with semi-automatic weapons. It just never crossed my mind.
In school, all we ever had to do was prepare for potential fires. Every now and again, the fire alarm would go off, which usually meant that we were having a “fire drill.” If it wasn’t a fire drill, it was a dopey prankster pulling the fire alarm. We never, EVER, had to have “active shooter”, “lock-down” kinds of drills. We never, prior to the Columbine High shooting, worried that high school wasn’t a safe place. Sure there where bullies, and high school didn’t always feel safe in terms of my social life. But the most I had to worry about was being bullied and beaten up, not blown away! When there were bomb scares, it was pretty much always because another one of those dopey pranksters were attempting to get a day off from school.
Yet, that is not the world my daughters are growing up in. In this post-Columbine, post-9/11, post Newtown, CT, post-Paris/San Bernardino/Brussells world, we cannot help but fear for our lives. Every nght the news is on, the world is exploding, people are being massacred, martyred, and tortured at alarming rates. And the level of fear and anxiety is at an all-time high! That fear and anxiety is also causing people to go into “self-preservation mode”, where it is literally everyone for themselves.
Fear does that, it is like a huge spider web. There are so many webby threads for us to get caught up in and, if the truth be told, we are often caught up in many more than one. Once the fear web has us in its grip, we cannot escape! We are stuck in the web of fear until the spider comes down and consumes us. As we pass through the bowels of the spider, we become defined by the fear that has killed us. What’s more, we become the very thing we fear. Instead of working toward building a sanctuary, we build up walls that further divide us. Rather than building up community, we become a part of it’s destruction.
Christ is calling us away from the spider web that is fear. The Bible is consistent in its call to the faithful to “fear not”, for we trust that God is, indeed, with us, that God will never abandon us or fail us. We trust that God will be with us always, even to the end of our lives and to the end of the age. While it is hard in this world to maintain this kind of faith, I pray that you surround yourself in a loving, faith community; I pray that you immerse yourself in the Scripture and in God’s promises, and that you turn from fear to faith.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“I sought the Lord and he answered me. He delivered me from all my fears.” – King David (Psalms 34:4 CEB)
Lord, deliver me from my fears and lead me to the promised land of faith. Amen.