What are you scared of? Noah has been lately saying that he sees things crawling out of the heat vent on the floor. I’m pretty sure that nothing is crawling out of there, but it is his mind that is saying, what if something crawled out of there? And I agree, what if something creeped, crawled or slithered out of the heat vent. That would be pretty scary.
Fear is that thing that creeps into the back of our mind and offers up the idea that something unsettling might, could or will happen. Fear is felt at all ages and in someways it grows with you. The older you are the more there is to fear.
As a child I never feared that we would have enough money for the necessities of life. I never feared that our cars would break down. I never feared that my home would catch on fire. I never feared for anyone else’s safety. As a college student I didn’t fear that I would hurt myself when playing sports. I didn’t have any fear that the cafeteria meal was heathy enough. As an adult we have a whole new level of fear. In this economy there are many people who are deathly afraid of job loss, market shares dropping, and mortgage payments being made. Fear is everywhere.
Fear is not uncommon.
The Old Testament shares a story about Isaac’s son Jacob. Jacob had tricked his father into giving him his brother Esau’s blessing. Jacob had previously purchased Esau’s birthright for a bowl of soup. This made Esau very angry, to the point that he was ready to kill Jacob. Check out more of this story in Genesis 25, 27-28. With fear for his life, Jacob fled from his father’s country.
Many years later Jacob is living with his father-in-law, Laban. The time comes for Jacob to leave Laban and he becomes fearful of seeing his brother again. His fear of Esau is building. Jacob sends some messengers to his brother to let him know of his intent to return. The messengers return with this message, “We came to your brother Esau, and furthermore he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”
I love that last part. I can almost hear it.
Messengers: “Yeah Jacob, we saw Esau. He said that he is coming to see you.”
Jacob: “Oh, cool.”
Messengers: “Um… Yeah, about that. He is also bringing 400 men with him.”
It is right there, in the four hundred men, part that Jacob’s fear grips him and grows within him.
I love what Jacob does. Jacob prays. Jacob speaks to God and says,
‘O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’ … Deliever me I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children.’
FOR YOU SAID, ‘I will surely propser and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’
Do you see what he did there? He remembered God’s promise in his life. See, God had previously promised Jacob that he would be a great nation. So far he was not a great nation. I guess it means that Esau was not going to kill him. If God said it, it was sure to happen. Jacob clung on to that hope.
In the times of your most intense fear what do you do? Do you cling to the hope that you have, or do you throw up your hands and grasp at the wind looking for answers or any ear that will listen to you whine?
Have you ever been in a situation where like Jacob you had to cling to the promises of God’s word?
I have. It has been a scary but safe ride. Fear cripples, but faith clings!