Fear is an everyday enemy that can confine us to prisons with high fences. But fear is not meant to drive our lives.
I was reminded how fear could rear it’s ugly head without a moment’s notice last October as I cared for a friend’s three dogs while they traveled.
Our time together started out no differently than all the previous times. That was until Monday night. We went out around 9:30 pm for our last potty run of the evening but our usual routine got turned upside down.
Keep in mind that my friend’s house is in the country. Although there are neighbors nearby, they are either not home or in bed this time of night, so it is very dark.
Staring Danger In The Face
Did I emphasize how dark it was? I’m talking no pole lights and on this particular night no moon or stars either. No problem, I have a little flashlight I use to light their path while they take care of business.
Out we go one at a time. Rocky. At 13 years of age gets to go first. Next, it’s the (at the time) 16-week old puppy, Murphy, followed by Max, a 15-month-old rambunctious teenager.
A field of weeds borders the house in the back and on one side. Murphy and Max both like to explore the weeds but not tonight.
Murphy went to the edge but stopped before entering the weeds. Then put his nose straight up in the air and took in a scent for a long time. I should have known that something was up.
Things got really interesting during Max’s turn. Max headed for the back weeds but stopped, turned, and began to walk cautiously towards the weeds to the side of the house. He came to a complete standstill just at the edge of the field. Not moving a muscle, not making a sound.
I shined the flashlight out in front of Max, and that’s when I saw it. What? No! Whoa! Crap! Two pairs of eyes glowing eerily back at us. It is amazing how many thoughts your mind can process in a matter of nanoseconds.
Imagination Run Amok
Downright creepy. For a moment I felt like I was standing in the middle of the moors facing the Hound of the Baskervilles. All kidding aside, what were they?
All I could see were glowing eyes. Maybe deer but they didn’t seem large enough. What else might they be? In this area they logical assumption, Coyote.
One of the critters lowered its head and took a couple of slow steps toward Max. I quietly said, “Max we need to go inside.” as I gathered the slack in his leash. Since Max is a lover and not a fighter, he had no objection.
We made a slow, deliberate retreat to the house as I walked backward to make sure we were not being followed.
Fear Is A Liar
Tuesday night we decided to go in the front yard since there is a light on the corner of the garage. But the results were the same. As I aimed the flashlight at the field, they were back, two pairs of glowing eyes staring at us.
Wednesday, I brought a spotlight with me. I was going to get to the bottom of this, so I left the boys in the house and went outside. I pointed it in the direction where the critters had been the previous two nights.
There they were, moving along the edge of the field. The spotlight drove back the darkness so that I could see the truth. With great relief, I saw that they were, in fact, deer and not coyotes.
Light exposes fear for what it is, a liar. My experience with the boys was a great reminder that fear is powerful and can be paralyzing, but it doesn’t have to be if we fight with the right weapons.
In Psalm 119:105 the psalmist tells us, “ Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” And in John 8:12 we are told “Jesus spoke to the people and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
Light pushes back the darkness and reveals the truth. Jesus is the light which drives back the darkness of the fears we face in our daily lives, no matter what they are.
In turn, He wants us to reflect His light to others so that they can draw close to him and live in faith, not fear. See Matthew 5:16.
Starve Your Fears
God’s most frequent command is “Fear Not.” There are over 300 occurrences in the Bible.
“Feed your faith, starve your fears.” – Ann Voskamp
The best way to starve your fear is to slow down and be still, spending time in scripture. The more time you spend in the Word, the more you will find yourself talking to God rather than thinking about what you fear. Without the fuel of your focus, your fears will die of starvation.
When I saw those glowing eyes, I feared the possibility of attack. But the truth is the only thing attacking me was fear. We don’t have to worry about what‘s up ahead or fear what is around the next corner because Jesus is already there lighting the way.
What fears in your life do you need to illuminate with the truth of Jesus? How can you be a light to push back the darkness for others this week?