“To him who is in fear everything rustles.” Sophocles
I didn’t mean to be the fear monster to Rosalyn. It was supposed to be just a game. Rosalyn — then 4 1/2 — wanted to play hide and seek. We played often, and Ollie (my pet name for Ros) loved to be the “seeker.”
She would count to 10 and then I would hear, “Ok, Daddy, here I come!” And I would whisper loudly, “Oh, I hope Ollie doesn’t find me here in the closet in her bedroom!” But this time, I thought, I’ll string things out a little. So when I heard her say, “OK, Daddy, here I come!” I stayed quiet.
“Daaadyyy!” followed by a little laugh.
I tucked myself back into the shadows of our darkened dining room.
Hmm. Maybe a little tension in her voice. No laugh this time.
“Daddy?” Small voice. Scared.
From my hiding place I see her stop in the hallway, right in front of the open dining room door. She paused, took a shaky breath and – I’m not making this up – bowed her head and folded her hands, and prayed in a little whisper: “Dear God – please help me find my Daddy.”
Ollie found her Daddy pretty fast. And then everything was fine. She was smiling, and she gave me a big hug.
She wasn’t fearful if her daddy was with her. Of course, I hadn’t been absent. I was there all along, but Ollie felt like I wasn’t there.
Sometimes I feel like my heavenly Father isn’t there. Or that He doesn’t care. Fear has a way of inducing grace-amnesia. In the middle of a fear-invoking crisis we forget that God loves us and that He is always with us (Matthew 28: 20).
But on this day 15 years ago, a lot of people felt like God had blinked. On 9-12, 2001 people felt alone. Someone had left the door unlocked and some bad people had come into our house. And they had hurt us.
But then, in the persons of our nation’s pastors, God stepped out of the shadows to remind us of those things that we need not fear. Here are just a few from His book of promises to encourage you:
Things not to fear:
Natural disasters: Mark 6:49-52
The World in Chaos: Luke 21:9
Public opinion when following God’s will: Matthew 1:20
Leaving everything behind to follow Jesus: Luke 5:10
Having run out of time for a miracle: Mark 5:36 (this is my favorite)
Those who can kill you: Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:5
Philippians 4:6,7 sums it up pretty well. Christians need not fear anything. And here’s the amazing thing. This isn’t an option – it’s a command! “Christians, listen up. Do not be afraid. Of anything! Instead get your head up and look to your heavenly Father. Talk to Him and be thankful that he’s there to hear you!”
Feeling fearful? Call out to your heavenly Father, and you know what you get? It’s the opposite of fear, and it’s bound up in one of the titles for the Lord Jesus—
“The Prince of Peace.”