Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fear and Peace

 by Pastor Rob Stevenson (2012)

Cockroaches fell from the upper walls of the food elevator located on one of the Navy’s aircraft carriers.  They descended like rain, dropping around my feet and on my shoulders, head, and arms.  The ones on the floor looked for hiding places, and found them under my shoes or up my pants legs.  Let’s call it a sequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”, except this could be called “The Cockroaches”.  I took control of the situation by more pesticide spraying, and eventually overcame them.  This type of work entailed an adventurous Navy job; one of my entomology (a studier of insects) duties as a young, LTJG (Lieutenant Junior Grade).  Later that night, as I undressed, a few more cockroaches fell out.  I even found one in my briefcase.  Does that send shivers up your spine? Do you have an innate fear of something like that happening to you? 

Retired, I now teach life science to 7th graders.  Things like tarantulas and frogs seem to gross out the girls to the point of high-pitched screams.  It produces squeamish looks from the boys.  Earthworms?  Yep, slimy and slithery makes for a yucky, loud, and tense-filled experiment.  

What other fears do we deal with?    How about dentists, doctors, getting a shot, speaking in public, lightning, sharks, and terrorists?  These come to mind when I think of things to fear.  To some of us these and other fears control our lives.   But Jesus said, “ 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.” (Matthew 10:28 – NLT)  In other words, we need a far-reaching vision that goes beyond what our earthly bodies endure.  Fearing our loving creator, like children fearing their loving parents, produces a healthy platform for a love-inspired relationship.  Philippians 2:12 (NLT) says,
“ Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”  Absolutely, He is The God.  Nothing exists more powerful and strong than Him.  He created the earth, the heavens, and us, and well…   everything.  I think our fear should be real enough to elicit a positive response to accept Him as Lord if we have never done that before, and to accept His Son, Jesus, as the Savior of our souls. 

When we get to that point, something happens.  We receive God’s peace.  I like the Bible’s Amplified version on the definition of peace (from Philippians 4:7): that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is.  You see, fear from this earth leads to grief and anxiety.  Fear from heaven leads to peace and contentment.  Fear God.  Experience the positive change for now and eternity. 

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