Several days ago, as I sanded a corner wall of our house in preparation to paint, I needed to move some equipment I had placed in the area the day before. The thought came to mind that I'd better keep my eyes open. "You never know what might have crawled under there," I mused.
Sure enough, something had crawled - or more literally, slithered - under the equipment. A twelve foot long killer snake lay coiled, and ready to strike. Well, he was actually more like twelve inches. And he wasn't coiled. Or ready to strike. And he wasn't a killer, or at least a mankiller. Indeed, for the life of me, I couldn't get the fellow to go away from the area so I could do my work. I think he liked me!
At the time, the feeling was not mutual (since then, however, George - that's his name - has become a friend, at least in his mind. I saw him again the next day, in a different area of the yard, and again, he didn't want to leave my company). When I first saw George, I screamed and jumped a bit, to be honest. Thankfully, my noisy electric sander was on at the time, so my cries were muffled and the neighbors didn't hear me. I'm not a fan of snakes, and would prefer that they find other people's equipment as a place to catch a nap. My heart beat pretty fast for awhile after meeting George, and as I returned to my painting, I felt really nervous in the expectation that a host of his family, friends, church and community social club were nearby and poised to do that for which George, God bless him, seems to have little inclination.
I was being tempted to embrace fear. The initial start I experienced when I moved the equipment was a normal human reaction to a possible danger. God Himself installed this capacity in human beings, and other creatures, as a means of protection. Thus, there was nothing wrong in my first response. My ongoing sense of trepidation, however, was not an acceptable thought pattern and attitude in which the Lord would have had me to continue. "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee" (Psalm 56:3). I had a choice to make, a choice to trust God deep within my heart and mind. Even more, I had a wonderful opportunity to personally relate to our Lord by affirming the peace of His presence.
We all have our particular temptations regarding fear. It is vital that we understand they are, in fact, temptations. No more prevalent command exists in Scripture, either directly or by implication, than the mandate to "Fear not!" (Isaiah 41:13). As in my experience with George, many experiences of life initially prompt in us a start, or a feeling of concern. All - all - must be dealt with quickly and decisively by the affirmation within our hearts and on our lips - "I will trust in Thee." The fearful Christian is a walking oxymoron, as it were, and one who cannot glorify his Lord because he so misrepresents who the Lord Jesus Christ is, and what He does on our behalf.
We had rain yesterday, after a long dry period (likely the reason George has been near our house). George has probably returned to his own home, and I may not see him again (which, and don't tell George I said this, will be fine with me!). I'll remember him, however, because my friend - yes, my friend! - provided opportunity to seek the great Friend of my heart. Every temptation to fear offers and commands such response, and may "what time I am afraid" always be met with the remembrance of God's faithful keeping - "I will trust in Thee!"
"Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not."