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Are You Afraid?

My daddy passed away when I was just a little boy, about 9 years old. A year or two later we moved into a shotgun house. In the very far back room of that house- you had to walk through several bedrooms to get to it- we stored an old rocking chair, his antique bed, and a dusty old trunk containing his mementos, including a photo album and several relics from his service in the World War. Well, as a little boy I was scared of that room. The door stayed shut and I stayed out. But I was also curious. Well, my momma worked 2nd shift on the job, 2 pm until 10 pm. So I was home alone. Which was alright, except when it started getting dark. Two things in the house scared me. One was all the family portraits of dead relatives, hanging on the walls and sitting on curios and cabinets. They just seemed to be staring at me. And what little boy wants a bunch of dead relatives staring at him? So I would go around the house and turn all the pictures around. Then momma would come home, find all the pictures turned and facing the walls, and become greatly irritated. And the other thing that scared me was that back room. One evening curiosity got the best of me. For whatever reason I decided my mission was to go back there with a flashlight to see what was going on. It took me awhile to build up the courage to open the door. Heart was beating fast, breath hard to come by. Door swung open, flashlight shined into the small room. And there sitting in that rocking chair I saw a stranger, facing me, looking at me! I slammed that door, ran as far to the other side of the house as I could go, closing every door along the way. I was scared to death! It took a while to regain my composure. When a little boy, I could surely experience fear with all it’s paralyzing effects. But my curiosity was even stronger. Was that truly a ghost? I had to be sure! I could not live the rest of my life having only a glimpse of that thing in the rocking chair. So I marched back to the room, prepared to reopen the door. Some kind of weapon was in hand, and I do not remember- ballbat, or maybe a bottle of catsup? I swung open the door and shined the light directly at the chair. And I’m not sure what I would have done if some creature would have risen from the rocker and walked my way. It did not. There sitting in the chair, wrapped in an afghan, was a big stuffed bear. It had the rough features and shiny eyes, plenty of raw material for the imagination of a scared little boy. But it was no ghost. And I was relieved.

Fear is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be healthy. Certainly some things in this life we need to fear. But, not ghosts, and not God. The Bible tells us, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:18. I think, the more you love and trust God, the less you need to fear anybody or anything. The next time you find yourself experiencing what may be an irrational fear, look around. Is your life in danger? If not, and if it is basically an uneasy feeling inside, I encourage you to focus on God. He loves you. He is bigger and stronger than anything you can imagine. Allow His peace to rule your heart instead of fear. It works!

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