Overcoming Fear

Chicken Little is feeling a little smug this week. It appears that the ultimate alarmist was right. The sky, according to the media and Washington, is apparently falling. The official theme song for the nightly news could be the song they used to sing on Hee Haw called Gloom, Despair And Agony On Me. Everyone sing along….

Gloom, despair, and agony on me
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all
Gloom, despair, and agony on me

I see a lot of gloom in our country. And I see a lot of fear. I think it is apropos to remember that the most frequent command in the Bible is “do not be afraid”. Followers of Jesus can be a tremendous beacon of light if we are not afraid. Confident and content Christians can offer real hope that can really change lives. I learned a valuable lesson about handling fear from our Golden Retriever Charlie. He died a few years ago at the ripe old canine age of 14.                                                                                          

This excerpt from my book “Bring’em Back Alive” documents an experience I had with Charlie that gave me a little hint of how our relationship with Jesus should work when we fear our circumstances.

Charlie suffered a health crisis late in his life. He developed a large benign tumor under his front leg that made walking difficult. We took him in for what would be a rather serious surgery at the ripe old canine age of twelve. The vet did a masterful job in removing the growth and taking care of Charlie. We were called to the animal hospital to pick him up. We waited as the workers brought him out. Charlie shuffled slowly out and I was taken aback by his appearance. He was trembling, frightened and appeared to be in some pain. His head was down and his perpetual motion tail was strangely still. He seemed confused and disoriented. Then I walked over to Charlie and simply touched him. Almost immediately he quit trembling and he made a valiant attempt to wag his tail. His breathing calmed down and he relaxed.

As I reflected on that scene it struck me that Charlie’s reaction to my touch and mere presence was a wonderful illustration of how Jesus comforts (or desires to comfort) me when I am afraid. When I (his master) touched Charlie he was comforted. His pain was not gone. He was still frightened. He was still a bit disoriented and unsure. Charlie’s circumstances hadn’t really changed at all. But he knew that his master was there and that made it better. What a picture that is of how the touch of Jesus enables us to respond when we are frightened, in pain, disoriented and confused. We need to remind ourselves that Jesus never promised that all trouble would vanish when we believe in Him. Jesus did promise that He would be there and that would be enough. But the tough question arises…do we truly believe that? Jesus gave us an amazing promise at the end of the Great Commission.

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

He is with us always. In good times and bad. Even to the end of the age. My prayer for myself and for you today is that we will trust and be comforted by that promise. I pray that we will seek the comforting touch of the Master. As I learned with Charlie, it doesn’t really matter what the circumstance might be, it is the knowledge that the Master is there that makes all the difference.