What Are You Afraid Of?
After we read about David’s unlikely victory, I asked my preschool class: “What scares you?”
They had plenty of answers.
“Monsters!” said one.
“Spiders!” said another.
“Cactus!” said Logan. (Hey, that’s valid.)
We read from our “Jesus Storybook Bible”: “This is God’s battle,” David told Goliath. “And God always wins his battles.”
God always wins His battles. He wins His battles against deceit, darkness, death. He wins His battles against our fears.
We’re Still Scared
As much as we may try to deny it, the truth is that when we grew up, packed up our crayons and put away our stuffed animals, our fear stayed put. We may have graduated from monster-under-the-bed worries, but our more passive, grown-up fears still linger under the surfaces of our adulting hearts.
Maybe we’re afraid we will still be single in our 30s or 40s, or that we’ll be stuck in a job rut for five or 10 more years. Maybe we fear leaving most of the vacation destinations on our bucket list unvisited, or never meeting the expectations someone else wants us to live up to.
We might be afraid of hitting 30 in much the same life situation we were in at 20. We might be afraid we’re missing the boat on all the exciting things our friends are experiencing in their relationships and careers. Maybe we’re afraid of wasting our lives.
We may not use a nightlight anymore, but we’re still scared.
Is it any coincidence that one of the first things Adam said after the Fall was “I was afraid”? To be human, in our natural and hopeless estrangement from God, is to be afraid sometimes. Actually, to be afraid a lot.
Have No Fear
But we aren’t estranged anymore. We are welcomed in Jesus (Romans 15:7), and through His death and resurrection we don’t have anything to fear. One of the first things Matthew recorded Jesus saying after He rose again was “Do not be afraid.”
Do. Not. Be. Afraid.
The pull of our natural humanity will drag us into fear from time to time. But Jesus has freed us from slavery to our old life, and through Him we can put our fearful tendencies away. It’s true that the circumstances we’re afraid of may not change. We may stay in a less-than-ideal job for much longer than we’d like. We may never go to the Swiss Alps or fully please Aunt Carol. We may be single for our entire earthly life.
But God is bigger than any of those fears, and He can promise us our lives will not be wasted. “Is anything too hard for Me?” He asked. Do not fear. Do not be afraid.
Remember the Israelites who walked right up to the water’s edge — and then God made the water part for them. Or Joshua’s army that came to a fortress they couldn’t penetrate, yet God knocked it down from the inside out. Or the shepherd boy God equipped to defeat a giant who had scared an entire army into silence.
God is bigger than whatever scares us.
I asked my preschoolers to finish the sentence: “God is bigger than a …”
“House!” said one.
“School bus!” said another.
“Cactus!” said Logan.
I’m really curious about Logan’s history with cacti. But despite whatever fearful experience he’s remembering, he has realized an important truth: God is bigger than the very thing he is afraid of.
I want God to grow that childlike faith in my heart, too, banishing my fears out of sight. I pray He helps me to stand in boldness in the face of what I’m afraid of — whether it’s loneliness or a spiky desert plant — and conquer my fearful tendencies.
After all, God always wins His battles.