So when he first saw Chloe, Silas’s reaction was to try to climb me like a tree. No amount of reassurance that she wouldn’t hurt him sufficed. But by the second day of watching her run away from him, his fear subsided. In fact, he was no longer sure she was a dog. One morning as he sat perched on the truck tailgate eating a morning snack and watching her furtive over-the-shoulder glance as she slunk under the porch, he said, “I’m afraid of dogs but I’m not afraid of that!”
Yes, he decided, some dogs should be feared, but at only 5, his little brain had processed the evidence correctly: this was not one of those dogs and he would not waste any more time or energy on it.
Too bad we can’t learn that lesson. We are scared and anxious about the wrong things. “Use your brain, people” Jesus did not say but strongly implied in Matthew 6. “God clothes the flowers; He feeds the birds. You see this every day of your lives. Why can’t you figure out that He will do the same for you?”
Instead we waste our time and energy worrying about not just our “daily bread,” but the bread for the weeks and months and years ahead as if we had some control over world economies, floods, earthquakes, storms, and wars that could steal it all in a moment, as if we had absolute knowledge that we would even be here to need it in the first place. And the kingdom suffers for want of people who give it the time and service it deserves and needs. “God has no hands but our hands,” we sing, and then expect someone else’s hands to pull the weight while we pamper ourselves and our families with luxuries and so-called future security.
And the things we ought to fear? We go out every day with no preparation for meeting the roaring lion that we know for certainty is out there. He is not a “just in case” or “”if perhaps.” He is there—every single day. Yet we enter his territory untrained and in poor spiritual condition, weaponless, and without even a good pair of running shoes should that be our only hope. Why? Because we are afraid of the wrong things and careless about the things we should have a healthy fear for; not because the difference isn’t obvious, but because we haven’t used the logic that even a five-year-old can.
And what did Jesus say to the people who were afraid of the wrong things? “O ye of little faith.”
What are you afraid of this morning?
“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread, Isa 8:12-13.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell, (Matt 10:28.
“Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings. For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations,” Isa 51:7-8.
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Ps 118:6.