Wise Fear – Foolish Fear

One of my favorite things to point out to folks is that God put 365 “Fear Nots” into the Bible, one for each day. We need to trust God and not fear the future. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good, and all things work together for good to those who love the Lord.

However, God put the capacity of fear into us when He created us—good fear. Good fear warns us of imminent danger and gives us the wisdom we need to stay clear of danger.

Looking back at the foolish things I’ve done during my lifetime has given me empathy for our rough collie Savannah and her obstinate fear.

Folks in the UK have long memories—like Savannah. She never forgets anything. Back in 1605, a man named Guy Fawkes was involved in a gunpowder plot to blow up parliament. The plot was discovered and Fawkes was executed. So every November 5—the sky lights up with fireworks for Guy Fawkes Night, a night to celebrate the failure of the gunpowder plot. Or perhaps just for an excuse to have a good time and make a lot of noise.

In any event, animals don’t like fireworks, and some animals—like Savannah—are terrorized by them. With the absence of the usual rain this year, the sky lit up with fireworks and the boom-booms echoed around our neighborhood. Not expecting the intensity this year, I was taking Savannah on a long walk when the displays started. She ran to the end of her leash and continued running as I held her to a walking pace. She attempted to pull me up into the hills—which is the complete opposite of where we live. I had to drag her to get her home and her harness nearly pulled off several times.

It is now 25 days and counting since Guy Fawkes Night. Savannah will not go outside after dark. Every night I put her harness on, put my coat and rain gear on (it is nearly always raining), and try to walk Savannah. She will finally go from the side door to the front of our house. Period. End of walk. So I have started leaving her behind and taking myself on a walk in hopes that she will feel abandoned and decide to come with me. Of course, by the time this works—the sky will be lighting up again for New Year’s and the boom-booms will be thundering all around our house.

I will continue sharing one of my favorite reminders from the Bible: the 365 “Fear Nots.” I will continue trusting God and losing my fears in His power and goodness. But I must admit that in a way I admire Savannah’s obstinate fear. When I remember the silly, dangerous stunts I’ve pulled during my lifetime and the resulting pickles—I’m wishing I had possessed some of my dog’s obstinate fear. Sour pickles are good on burgers—but there’s a limit to how many one can pull out of the jar and eat.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Psalm 111:10. Fear should be spent wisely, not foolishly.

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God and Passwords

Why should I, a mere human, expect to understand the Great and Mighty God, Creator of the universe…when there are mere human existence questions which mystify me?

For example, living in Scotland. When friends invite us over for “tea,” I am greatly perplexed. Do they mean we should come to eat dinner with them? Or do they mean we should come over and have a cup of tea? It can mean either one. So I invariably have to ask. Sometimes asking is embarrassing because kind-hearted friends think I’m inviting myself to dinner and will quickly respond, “Oh, yes. Stay and have a meal with us.”

Panties. This might sound like a strange thing to be perplexed about but it’s something that has flummoxed me since childhood. Are panties worn under a nightgown or pajamas, or does one just wear the night attire next to the skin? It’s something my mother never told me. On the rare occasions when I slept away from home – like attending a summer camp – it was a question I couldn’t ask the other girls. My pride wouldn’t let me admit that I didn’t know the answer. The problem with being too proud to ask a question is that sometimes you go through life never knowing the answer.

Computer passwords. This throws me every time. When I visit a website and it asks for a password, I stare at it stupidly. How dare it ask for my password! I don’t give out my password to strange sites. Or…is it asking me to make up a password for that website? Sometimes I look at the website and declare, “If you’re trying to get business you should drop the password thing, because really – looking at what you’re trying to sell – it isn’t worth making up a new password and trying to remember it. Then I go away…still not knowing which password it meant.

So if I am too thick-headed to know the life answer to these three simple everyday problems, why would I expect to understand Mighty God, Creator and Miracle-Worker?

Some of our friends and family members are going through severe trials at the moment. They are lovely, kind, wonderful people who love God. Why are they suffering?

I don’t know.

We are in the middle of a storm that feels like the eye of a hurricane – except hurricane eyes are supposed to be calm and our storm isn’t even calm in the middle. Why?

I don’t know.

What I do know is this secret to the universe that unlocks every blessing of God and makes it available to us if we just exercise enough faith to believe and accept it: God is in Control. “ALL things work together to good for those who love the Lord.” Romans 8:28.

God may be a mystery. His way of working may indeed be mysterious. Yet He made it so simple that a child can understand it.

Trust. Just trust.