Don’t Make Me Pull This World Over!

Have you noticed how children often fear things that are not likely to hurt them and yet, have total disregard for actual dangers?

Kids are afraid of the dark, alien invasions, sharks in the pool, getting sucked down the bathtub drain, and monsters under the bed. They will, however, run into traffic without a second thought. They resist seatbelts in cars, helmets on bikes, washing their hands before meals and vaccinations against deadly illnesses. The thought of taking a bath sends them into hiding but they find the electric outlet and metal objects a tantalizing coupling. As parents, we spend a great deal of time convincing kids NOT to fear what they do and to cultivate a healthy fear for what they don’t perceive as any threat at all.

God’s children are like that; spending our emotional energy fearing people’s opinions, or getting passed over at work, being unattractive or encountering rejection, facing financial hardship or social disapproval. God tells us neither to place trust in nor to concern ourselves with the “things of this world”. If God is for us, who can be against us? We shouldn’t fear man or his opinion of us. We shouldn’t fear tomorrow for tomorrow has enough trouble of its own.

Instead, God has to put a lot of effort into getting us to pay attention to the actual dangers that exist because, just like children, we’re likely to run straight into traffic. What does God want us to see as real dangers? How about missing the hope of heaven, falling prey to Satan’s schemes, being devoured by that roaring lion, embracing sin, being found insufficient in our love for God or others, failing to stand firm, failing to tell others about Christ or hoarding what we have when others are in need. These are things to fear.

When I was a little girl I was nosy and imaginative and I often had trouble staying in my bed after bedtime. I remember calling from the top of the stairs that I wanted to come down because I was afraid of the dark or afraid of a noise or afraid of a dog barking. My father would yell up from his recliner “I’m what you ought to be afraid of. Take one more step down those stairs and you’ll really have something to fear!” The greater fear of my father’s anger was generally sufficient to help me overcome my fear of whatever lurked in my room.

I had nothing more to fear from my father than a solid scolding or one of the typical punishments of the sixties like being grounded, sent to my room after school or extra chores but his reminder would help me assign a proper order to my fears – choose to face the imaginary fears and avoid the very real possibility of consequences from tempting actual danger.

Our Heavenly Father says the same thing.

Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” In Luke 12: 4 and 5, Jesus warns us “I say to you friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!”

In other words, don’t MAKE me pull this world over.

Outgrowing certain fears is a sign of maturity in children and so it is for us. Childhood fears can keep children from obedience like my fear of the dark inspired me to resist my bedtime. Fears can keep kids from great adventure like a fear of the water may keep them from joining friends at the pool. Alternately, failure to fear what is real places children squarely in the face of harm: head injuries from risky bike riding, flu from not washing their hands or addiction from ingesting questionable substances.

The fact is that children do not know what to fear and neither do we, unless we listen to our Father and trust that He knows better than our own imaginations and emotions.

Do you harbor fears it’s time to outgrow? I do. Are you living recklessly in areas that God is warning you are areas to practice caution? I am. Today is a good day to grow up just a little bit more, don’t you think?

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    The Conversation

  1. Wonderful and challenging. I hate fear! Hate it! Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Cheri says:

    This was a great post, a great analogy. I have outgrown some of my irrational “childish” fears, but still have far to go. And I can always use a timely reminder to cultivate a healthier fear of spiritual laxity.

    Thanks, Lori!