DayBreaks for 9/18/20 – The Cause of Fears

See the source image

NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

It doesn’t take much to look up the definition of worry or fear.  They are close cousins – related by blood and tears.  It is all the more interesting to learn what Jesus, not Webster or Freud, thinks about the cause of worry.  He gives us his definition of it in Matthew 6:25, when he said, That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough

Do you see it?  “Whether you have enough…”  Our worries are about shortfalls, lack of supply.  It might be that we are afraid we won’t have enough time to complete our bucket list or even to complete today’s tasks, that we won’t have enough good luck to win or even to survive, that our smarts just don’t rate up there high enough, that we won’t be able to receive or give enough love or even that God’s forgiveness will run short just when I get to the front of the line.  We are worried about the supply of oil.  The fact is, we worry about just about everything – fearing that there won’t be enough of it.  There’s only one problem with this: worry doesn’t work.

Jesus went on to talk about the birds of the air and the flowers of the fields.  Neither worries.  As far as we know, no flower or bird has ever worried.  It seems that worry and its cousin, fear, barge into the human mind alone.  Maybe it’s because we are the only beings capable of that level of thought, or that we’re the only creatures that are so self-centered. 

Isn’t it true in your life that when you are worried you are not thinking about God?  You are trying to figure out how to do something, trying to predict the future or control future events.  You are wondering how to manipulate people, events, materials and situations to create the outcome that YOU desire.  We do these things when we are worried about what’s happening.

In my experience, when I am worried, if I pull back and just concentrate on God and His love and care for me, on His promises of not leaving me, of working things out for my best and not my worst, then I find my fear going away. 

God knows, Jesus says, what it is that we need and how much of it we need.  He knows that better than I.  He also knows what will be good for me and what will turn out to be harmful.  Our challenge is to trust His judgment and wisdom and not our own.

PRAYER: I confess, Lord, that I at times worry about whether there will be enough of this or of that, or whether things will work out in ways that I want them to.  Help me to not try to control if, when or how much You choose to give me, but to trust that Your wisdom far surpasses mine in all ways!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.Copyright 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/09/20 – Fear, Part 3

See the source image

NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

Who have you let down already today?  Maybe no one, so ask yourself that question again tonight when you go to bed and see if your answer has changed! 

We all have been guilty of letting others down.  Sometimes we get over it, sometimes we don’t. 

Noble Doss was a football player – an excellent one.  He dropped lots of passes throughout his career, but in spite of all he caught, he painfully remembered one he dropped.  In 1941 he was part of the University of Texas football team that was ranked #1 in the nation heading into a matchup with their conference rival, Baylor University.  They held hopes for an undefeated season, but for that to happen, they would have to win the game against Baylor.  In the 3rd quarter of their game, Doss’ team was ahead 7-0 when the Longhorn quarterback hurled a long pass to Doss, who was wide open.  The only thing I had between me and the goal was 20 yards of grass, Doss recalls.  The pass was right on target and as one, the Longhorn fans rose cheering to their feet.  Doss locked his eyes on the ball and reached out for it, but somehow, it slipped through his hands.  With just seconds remaining later in the game, Baylor tied the score, Texas lost their top ranking, and their chance to go to the Rose Bowl and to have a perfect record.  Until he died in 2009, Doss said: I think about that play every day.  He felt, keenly, that he’d disappointed his teammates and let their fans down, too.

Sure, he had plenty of other memories: he was married more than 60 years, was a loving father, grandfather, and he served in the Navy during WW2.  He’d been on the cover of Life magazine with his Texas teammates, he intercepted 17 passes during his college years – a UT record that stands to this day.  He went on to win 2 NFL championships with the Philadelphia Eagles.  By all accounts, Doss was a man of great integrity and honor – that’s what everyone said about him – even while he was still living!  But while most people remember the life he lived, the plays he made and the TD’s he caught, Doss remembered the one he didn’t catch.  In fact, when he once met a new UT Longhorn’s head coach, Doss told him about that play, and he wept when he spoke of it. 

Fear of failure is crippling.  Because we are afraid we may fail (and let ourselves and others down) we may never get into the action at all.  Or, perhaps because of a failure in your past, you no longer are involved in ministry, outreach or fellowship.  You may have withdrawn, and like Doss, you fear you will carry that disappointment with you until you die – and that it will often bring tears when you think of it.

You fear that you may disappoint God – and that may be the deepest fear any of us carry.  After all, if we disappoint God – well, let’s just say that’s not a good thing to do.  We fear that God may give up on us.  Yet He knows our make-up – that we have deceitful hearts, that the imaginations of our hearts are evil continually, that no good thing dwells within us.  He knows all those things about you and me – and He still died for us.  Does that sound like Someone who is going to give up on you?

PRAYER: Father, we are so grateful that You love us with a love that refuses to give up or let go of us!  Help us get over our fears of failure, of disappointing You, and trust in Your amazing grace and love!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 9/08/20 – Fear, Part 2

See the source image

NOTE: I am on a “retirement/anniversary” trip and will be out until late September. In the meantime, I’m sharing recycled DayBreaks for 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

From the DayBreaks archive, September 2010:

The gospels record for us the story of Jesus and his disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee when a violent storm arises.  While the disciples are trying to save their skin from the raging storm, Jesus sleeps.  I don’t know how many of you have ever been in a serious earthquake, but it certainly gets your attention!  It would be hard to sleep through a “big one”.  The word that Matthew uses to describe the storm is one we don’t usually associate with the ocean.  He used the term seismos to describe the violence of the storm.  This is the same word we use to describe an earthquake – seismographs record the shaking of the earth.  Matthew uses this word on two other occasions, too: 1) when the earth shook at Jesus’ death; 2) when the earth shook at Jesus’ resurrection.  Clearly, this was a terrific storm to have qualified for the word seismos!  Yet one gets the sense that Jesus would and could have just kept sleeping through the entire “seismic” event.

It is instructive to see what fear does to the disciples when this storm hits them.  First, though, let’s notice that the storm came “suddenly” upon them.  It hadn’t been building for some time – it was not stormy one moment, and then the weather changed – FAST!  Some of the storms that bring fear into our lives are long, drawn out storms that we can see coming and that stay for a long time.  Others, like this storm, take us by surprise.  Either way, there are things we need to learn about what fear does to us from this story:

FEAR CAUSES THEM TO QUESTION JESUS’ CARE FOR THEM.  They asked Jesus, after waking him up, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  They immediately question Jesus’ goodness and the genuineness of His care for them.  Doesn’t that sound familiar?  When storms hit many people – their first reaction is “What’s wrong with You, God?  I thought you cared about me!”  This is one of the most tragic effects of fear – even on His closest followers.

FEAR CAUSES THEM TO BECOME CONTROL FREAKS.  Implicit in their criticism that Jesus must not care for them is the unspoken demand that He should care about them and that it is about time that He demonstrates that!  Fear arises because we suddenly find things spinning out of our control, so we grab on to something that gives us at least the illusion of having control.  For some, they run to the cupboard and pull out chocolate, others will reach for the bottle or work extra hours or clean the house until it is spotless all in an effort to have some control and sense of being in control. 

FEAR CAUSES THEM TO NOT SEEK JESUS’ HELP: It is interesting that the disciples do not ask Jesus to do anything.  Instead, they accuse him, as already noted, of not caring. 

FEAR CAUSES THEM TO FORGET REASONS THEY SHOULD BELIEVE: Don’t forget that these are men who have been with Jesus for a while – they’ve seen him do amazing things such as give healing to the sick, sight to the blind, strength to shriveled and crippled limbs, turn water into wine and cast out demons.  Shouldn’t all those things have been enough to create belief?  Yes, they should…but fear does funny things to us and makes us forget prior deliverances and demonstrations of God’s power and love. 

These are all daunting problems created by fear, but the worst of all may be that when we are afraid, our safety becomes the primary thing in our life.  As Max Lucado put it, our fear-driven concern for our safety becomes our god until the storm has passed.  It was so with the disciples – even though God was riding in the boat with them.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive us for questioning your care for us, for trying to control you and our circumstances, for trying to order you around, for not seeking your assistance, for forgetting all the reasons we have to trust in your goodness and love.  Don’t let us make our own safety our god!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 4/02/20 – The Hallway Through the Sea #10 – Be Not Afraid

Be Not Afraid wallpaper by avilla1047 - a5 - Free on ZEDGE™

DayBreaks for 4/02/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #10 – Be Not Afraid

From Christianity Today and Tim Dalrymple, 4/01/20:

Today’s musical pairing is “Spiegel im Spiegel” by Arvo Pärt. Note that all the songs for this series have been gathered into a Spotify playlist here.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1

“Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: they do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?’” – Luke 12:11-26

Day 9. 926,095 confirmed cases, 46,413 deaths globally.

Calling these anxious times is like calling love an emotion: true, obvious, and understating the experience.

Soon we will crest a million confirmed cases and fifty thousand deaths. Tens of thousands of deaths seem certain in the United States in the month to come. Even when the contagion slows in one place, it will accelerate in another. What will happen when the pandemic devours cities with fewer resources than ours? How many will die in Kolkata and Karachi, Cairo and Lagos, Mexico City and São Paulo?

Our hearts are tense. Our thoughts are restless. We find it difficult to concentrate. We read the streams of online content constantly and desperately. We devour the news and the news devours us. So many of us have lost friends and loved ones already. Others await the day.

We tend to think of anxiety as a physiological and psychological phenomenon. It is also a spiritual reality.

The Bible counsels against fear time and again. Do not be afraid. Be strong and courageous. Fear not. Therefore I tell you do not worry. Do not be anxious about anything. Perfect love drives out fear. The witness of scripture is consistent and clear that we are not to remain in fear and anxiety but to go beyond them to faith.

Søren Kierkegaard describes anxiety as fear in search of an object. Anxiety latches onto things and persuade us those things cause the anxiety. But anxiety actually precedes the object, and if the object of our anxiety were removed then our anxiety would swiftly find something else to worry over…  (Click this link to read the rest of the meditation.)

PRAYER: Give us this faith, O Lord, not to waste our time in futile anxiety over our lives and our circumstances. Give us this faith to rest completely in you, our stronghold. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Link to Christianity Today’s Facebook page

The Hallway Through the Sea is a series of daily meditations from the president and CEO of Christianity Today, written specifically for those struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. It will address our sense of fear and isolation and also the ways we find beauty and truth and hope—and Christ himself—in the midst of suffering. The title of the column alludes to the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea. We are a people redeemed from our enslavement to sin, yet we find ourselves living between where we were and where we are meant to be. Danger looms on both sides, but our hope and our faith is that God will deliver us through the sea and into the land of promise. If you wish, you can follow Timothy Dalrymple on Twitter @TimDalrymple_

PREVIOUS THE HALLWAY THROUGH THE SEA COLUMNS:

Out of the Depths

Chosen in the Furnace

The First Word and the Last

More . . .

Link to video with facts, symptoms and prevention tips about coronavirus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 3/24/20 – Hallway Through the Sea #4: Out of the Depths

Image result for crossing the red sea

DayBreaks for 3/24/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #4 – Out of the Depths

From Christianity Today and Tim Dalrymple, 3/23/20:

For today’s musical pairing, something different: this acoustic version of Stay and Wait by Hillsong UNITED. See the video below.

“Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’”
Exodus 14:13–14

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”
Exodus 14:21–22

Day 4. 350,536 confirmed cases, 15,328 deaths globally.

In the Book of Exodus, a series of increasingly catastrophic plagues loosened Pharaoh’s grip just long enough for the Israelites to make their way into the wilderness. Pharaoh reversed course and pursued them. The Israelites faced a vastly superior army on one side and the Red Sea on the other. They were hemmed in. “The Lord will fight for you,” Moses tells them. “You need only to be still.”

Then followed one of the most renowned and spectacular of all the miracles in the Bible. God “divided” the waters and the Israelites passed through, “with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”

It must have been an awe-inspiring experience to walk that hallway through the sea. It must also have been terrifying. At any moment, those towering walls could have crashed in upon them. Instead, after the Israelites ascended onto the far shore, the hallway collapsed upon the army of Pharaoh and freed the people of God.

The number of confirmed cases of and deaths from the pandemic in the United States soared over the weekend. We know the numbers will continue their rapid climb as symptoms begin to manifest and testing catches up with reality.

We feel, O Lord, like those Israelites passing through the sea. We are exhausted and bewildered. A frightening enemy pursues us. Danger looms at every side. The only way is forward. We know there is hope on the far shore, but we have not yet begun our ascent.

To read the rest of this meditation, click this link: 

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/march-web-only/out-of-depths.html?fbclid=IwAR21Z_2oaNU3s0pX3_E3kdL9EpuKmFBntmIG_tnpaJ_v5PWVmb9IYSJx0N0

Link to Christianity Today’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CTMagazine/

PRAYER: Lord, as you led your people through the waters long ago, we trust in you to lead us through this perilous time.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Link to video with facts, symptoms and prevention tips about coronavirus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 3/20/20 – The Hallway Through the Sea #1 – The Shepherd in the Dark

Image result for pathway through the sea

DayBreaks for 3/20/20: The Hallway Through the Sea #1 – The Shepherd in the Dark

We are in uncharted territory as a nation and world…at least uncharted as far as those of us who are alive today are concerned. The world has seen pandemics in the past but we’ve not seen it in our times. Many, even Christians, are fearful and greatly concerned. In recognition of that, my son Tim Dalrymple at Christianity Today, is starting to publish a daily devotion to help us navigate this journey. 

Starting today, I’ll be republishing them (a portion each day) with a link to that days’ full post on Christianity Today’s Facebook page. I feel confident you’ll be blessed.

From Christianity Today, The Hallway Through The Sea: The Shepherd in the Dark, 3/19/20:

Editor’s note: We confront a public health challenge unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes. Yet we believe there is beauty even in times of trial. Beginning today and each weekday hereafter, for however long, CT will publish a meditation from our president and CEO. We will pair it with a work of art or music to inspire and bring beauty through the darkness of this season.

Today we pair the meditation below with Verses by Ólafur Arnalds & Alice Sara Ott. Also see this dance choreographed by Robert Bandara to the same piece. (Song embedded below.)

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Psalm 23:4 (ESV)

Day 1. 211,853 confirmed cases and 8,724 deaths.

Onward it comes. The world slows to a still. We hold our breath. We listen. We watch. And the affliction stretches swiftly across the land like a darkening tide.

We feel, again, the long fingers of fear scratching at our lungs. Fear of loss. Fear of death. Fear of the chaos held at the gate.

We are lost in a trackless forest of information. We grasp for the apple of knowledge in the hope it will bring us peace, and yet fear lies coiled liked a worm within the apple. We consume the apple; the worm consumes us. The food we hoped would satisfy only makes our hunger more painful. No amount of knowledge will take our fear away.

To be human is to stand suspended over a chasm. To be human is to be vulnerable.

But when have we ever not been vulnerable? We have never been more than one week, one day, or even one moment away from losing the things we love in this world.

O Lord, we have always been in your hands. At your mercy. Why should that frighten us now?

The shadow of death is an old enemy and a wise friend. Memento mori, it whispers. Remember your days are numbered. Remember your days have always been numbered since before the first day dawned. Remember each day is a gift. And remember you have never been anything other than wholly and frightfully and wonderfully dependent on your God.

To read the rest of the article, click this link:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/march-web-only/covid-19-devotional-shepherd-dark-coronavirus-pandemic.html?fbclid=IwAR1BOMR_kHCzI1u8d89bFQI8epYDeDrf96QnLrbDlRasdcvWlKuOZ7rXfJk

Link to Christianity Today’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CTMagazine/

PRAYER: Lord, you hold the whole world in your hands. Remind us often that there’s no better place for us to be than in your care!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Link to video with facts, symptoms and prevention tips about coronavirus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 2/24/20 – Do Not Be Afraid?!?!?!!!

Image result for fear

DayBreaks for 2/24/20: Do Not Be Afraid!?!?!?

In every instance in Scripture where God appears to people they fall terrified to the ground! The only exceptions that I can think of (I may have missed some) are the incarnation appearances of Jesus – and in his case he looked just like a human and not God. But what I find interesting about the times God does show up and we humans cower in fear, his words to us are: “Do not be afraid”

Does that make sense to you? After all, when confronted by the One who is the Lord over all, the Creator, ultimate in power, who wouldn’t we cringe in fear and shame? At that moment there must be no doubt about the fact that he knows every single thing we have ever done, every impure, mean, angry, hateful thought we’ve ever had, every opportunity to do good that we let pass by. He knows everything about us – there is nothing that escapes His all-seeing eyes! And when confronted by the absolute judge of the universe who is totally pure and loves justice, why wouldn’t we be terror stricken!!!

Yet isn’t that precisely why he came as an incarnate human being? To show us what he is really like…to say, in essence, “See me? Touch my hands, hear my words, know my heart…and you’ll know you don’t need to be afraid. I’m on YOUR side and I love you! I won’t ever leave or forsake you.”

The more I think about it, the more I think that was a key part of his coming – to take away our fear. His truest revelation of himself to us is visible in the incarnation and on the cross. Once we have seen that and accepted him, there is no need for fear for there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ.

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, for taking away our fear and for showing us the true nature of the Father! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 1/31/20 – Standing Before God

Image result for standing before God

DayBreaks for 1/31/20: Standing Before God

My faith roots come from a very legalistic background. A common question posed to keep us in fear regarding salvation was, “If you sin and are run over by a truck and killed before you can ask for forgiveness, will you be saved?” The answer they wanted to hear was “No” because it was only fear that could keep us young people in line. We were taught (and this part is true) that God was always watching and we might be able to fool people but never God – and that some day the books would be balanced and we’d find ourselves in the most serious trouble imaginable. And so we cried and literally shook with fear for our sinfulness. 

But flip that argument around: are we any better if God is kind, but also safe and controllable? I think not. If God were kind, safe and controllable we have an entirely different problem: he wouldn’t be God at all.

You see, small gods do small things – because that’s all they can do. I like how Steve Brown put it in A Scandalous Freedom: “If you have never stood before God and felt afraid, then probably you have never stood before God. (Heb. 10:31) You have stood before an idol of your own making. Worse, your life will remain silly and superficial because you worship a silly and superficial God.”

At the same time, Jesus says his yoke is easy and his burden is light. How can he say that? Because as Aquinas said, the cross didn’t secure the love of God, but the love of God secured the cross. All who believe have been adopted. Not only have we been reconciled to that great and mighty and totally holy God by Christ’s sacrifice, but something else happened: we received Jesus’ righteousness – and not just a part of it, but all of it…ALL the goodness of Christ was credited to your account and mine.

What is the practical application of this wondrous truth? Here it is: if you are a Christian, it means that God will never be angry with you again. He has turned his wrath away from you because he credited ALL of Christ’s righteousness to your account. And here it is in a nutshell: how can God be angry at perfection?

It is a truth too good to be true – but it is true. Find freedom because Christ died to give it to you!

PRAYER: God, I can hardly believe you see me as holy and righteous as Christ because you’ve given me his righteousness as my inheritance as your child! No words can ever express enough gratitude for what you’ve done! Thank you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 1/22/20 – Top 10 Overblown Fears of the Decade

Image result for great fears

DayBreaks for 1/22/20: Top 10 Overblown Fears of the Decade

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Here’s another of Newsweek’s lists that was compiled around the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010:

The Top 10 Overblown Fears of the Decade (1999-2009) – counting down from number 10 to 1, 1 being the most overblown:

  1. Globalization
  2. Anthrax
  3. Teen Oral Sex Epidemic
  4. Web Predators
  5. SARS, Mad Cow, Bird Flu
  6. Bloggers
  7. Immigrants
  8. Vaccines Causing Autism
  9. Shoe Bombs
  10. Y2K

I would have to agree that most of these fears are overblown and were inflated by the media in the worship of sensationalism.  Some of the fears were real fears, even though there wasn’t much of a basis for them, such as Y2K.  I worked in the computer world in 1999-2000 and remember the fears that all our computer systems that provided data and products for our customers might go “belly up.”  Pish-posh.  Didn’t happen – but that was partly due to all the advance warning we had and the hard work of a truly dedicated staff of developers led by one of my best friends. 

I thought #2 was interesting: shoe bombs.  Richard Reid was the cause of that fear – you remember him.  Little did Newsweek know when they put the list together that we’d have another “bomber” attempt lighting his underwear on fire at Christmas time.  Maybe that wasn’t such an overblown fear after all.

What should we fear?  Scripture advises us to be anxious (fearful) about nothing (Phil. 4:6; Lk. 12:22), that we should “Fear not!”.  But there is one exception: we are told to “Fear God and keep His commandments” (Eccl. 12:13) and to “Fear Him who, after killing the body, has power to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear Him!” (Lk. 12:5)

Other than that, we’ve nothing to worry about and no need to worry about any of the items on Newsweek’s list or any other list!

PRAYER: May we fear You alone!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

 

DayBreaks for 1/07/20 – Fear and Control Freaks

Image result for fear

DayBreaks for 1/07/20: Fear and Control Freaks

From the DayBreaks Archive, January 2010:

Of all the human emotions, perhaps fear is the one that I really dislike experiencing.  OK, I’ll admit, I was raised in the age of the Marlboro man – someone who was always in control of the world around him, master of fearlessness, brave, courageous and bold.  Fear is for wimps, I thought. 

Life has a way of changing how we feel about things.  When we were young, we weren’t smart enough to be afraid…really afraid.  Oh, sure, we might have been afraid of flunking a chemistry test or of being turned down if we asked a girl out on a date (or even more embarrassing, being turned down if you tried to kiss her goodnight on the doorstep!)  But those are hardly earth-shattering things to be afraid of.

As we age, the things we fear change, too.  We start to fear for the one we love – of something bad happening to them.  That’s partly because we genuinely don’t want anything to happen to them – but underlying all that is fear for ourselves – how we would feel, how we would cope, about the overwhelming powerlessness of the situation.  And then we fear for our children.  The first time they cough we fear they’ve contracted dengue fever or something like bubonic plague rather than a common cold.  They start to drive and we fear, perhaps really fear for the first time, for their very lives.  We can’t bear the thought of what it would be like without them, of the grief that would rend our hearts.

Max Lucado, in Fearless, considered fear and had this to say: “[Fear] turns us into control freaks … [for] … fear, at its center, is a perceived loss of control. When life spins wildly, we grab for a component of life we can manage: our diet, the tidiness of our home, the armrest of a plane, or, in many cases, people.

“The more insecure we feel, the meaner we become. We growl and bare our fangs. Why? Because we are bad? In part. But also because we feel cornered.

Martin Niemöller documents an extreme example of this. He was a German pastor who took a heroic stand against Adolf Hitler. When he first met the dictator in 1933, Niemöller stood at the back of the room and listened. Later, when his wife asked him what he’d learned, he said, “I discovered that Herr Hitler is a terribly frightened man.” Fear releases the tyrant within.”

The New Year is young, but by the time you read this, you’ll hear more about terrorist bombings and possible wars, down days on the stock market, depressing economic news, you may be fearful of the direction the country is or isn’t heading.  You may be afraid of a pink slip at work, or a divorce filing at home.  Fear is a terrible master.  Don’t let it master you and let loose the tyrant hiding inside your heart.

PRAYER: We so desperately need to learn to rest in Your goodness and care for us and not to be afraid, Lord.  Give us peace in a world full of fear and fear-mongering!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>