When I was a small child, my family made many trips to “the country”. That’s what everyone called it when we made the trek from St. Louis to the little town of Puxico in southeast Missouri. Most of them just seemed like really long car rides that seemed like they would never end. There wasn’t much to see on the trip and many times it was in a car with no air conditioning so about all a kid could do was take a sweaty nap in the back seat.
I remember one trip in particular though. It was just mom and dad in the front seat and Grandma Dickerson and Grandma Ridenour with me sandwiched between them in the back seat. It is about the only time that I can really remember both of my grandmothers being together for any length of time. They lived very near each other so I am sure they spent time together but I probably didn’t really care at such a young age and Grandma Ridenour died when I was just a little guy.
But this trip I was stuck in between two old ladies (who were probably, at that time, younger than I am now) that proceeded to yak about various things I didn’t give a hoot about non-stop. I was bored to death until they started talking about ghosts and witches.
They told ghost stories that scared the dickens out of me. Grandma Ridenour told us about a witch that used to live in Puxico. They told these stories as if they were true and they had witnessed many of the accounts. I was hanging on every word. It was exciting and I couldn’t get enough of these things that they had seen or heard of.
Finally we arrived in Puxico at Aunt Mary’s house.
I wondered, “Is this one of the places the ghosts were in Grandma’s story?”
I stuck close to mom and dad as we entered the house. It was brooding and creepy, well, in reality it was a little house like all the other little houses in town and was light and cheery, but my mind was convincing me it was filled with ghostly peril. After Aunt Mary did the cheek pinching and commenting on my growth rate I was left completely out of the conversations and I sat there with the grown-ups wanting to go play but deathly afraid of the ghosts that lurked around every corner.
Then I had to go to the bathroom. This meant I had to walk through the ghost’s lair to the bathroom in the other end of the house. It was a long and dangerous walk as I wandered through the house. When I was done I explored the rest of the house. I didn’t find a single ghost and the house lost its dark and brooding nature and became just plain Aunt Mary’s house again.
We hear a lot of ghost stories every day. The news tells us things designed to keep us listening and scare us into actions that just don’t make any sense. I have allowed myself to become so fearful that I cease to do the things I should and sit and watch the television waiting for the next detail of the ghost story to unfold. If I allow myself to, I can act out of fear in everything I do in my daily life. I can say this for sure, God does not do his best work through a man cowering in fear. God tells me that fear is something I have to drive out of my life.
Matthew 10:26 “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.”
A lot of the fear that people face today is because of what they hear. We feel threatened by people that may or may not have an agenda against us. I am not to fear them even if they actually want to harm me. Jesus was preparing the disciples in this verse to go out and spread the gospel. There was a very real possibility of harm that could come to these men. In fact, eventually most of them were physically attacked and killed. But they got the job done. If they had succumbed to fear what would our Bible look like today?
Matthew 10:28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Jesus tell us to fear God. Does He mean to sit in the house praying God doesn’t kill us? Does He mean for us to run to our cars dodging lightning bolts? No, He means that God alone has power over us. He is the only thing that can harm us and He never will. I am his child and I walk in his power. My fear does not come from Him!
Romans 8:15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
Psalm 56:3 But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. 4 I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?
God, take away my fear and fill me with courage. Remind me constantly that You walk with me and hold my hand. Your promises are secure throughout whatever the world throws at me. I need to fear no man because You are with me. Amen.