My Acquaintance with Fear
We lived five houses away from a canal and a very busy two lane road. Often times past my bedtime, my dad would decide we needed something from the store. Almost as soon as he left, my mother would make the comment, “I hope he doesn’t get into an accident.” Ten minutes later, she would add, “I wonder where he is. I hope he’s ok.” The occasional comments would continue.
I would be gripped in fear and the sound of a distant siren would reduce me to silent tears. I would not close my eyes until I heard the car pull into our driveway. I had been consumed with “What if…?”
My dad’s tire company had four very large retread curing molds for the tire recapping. The steam temperature of each one was over 200 degrees. Often times my mother would say, “Those things could explode.” Again I was consumed with “What if…?”
During the Cuban Missile Crises, we never knew when the city sirens would sound. Everyone would go running for ‘safety’ under a school desk or in a closet or in the floorboard of the car. The whole Miami community was asking “What if…?
My mother missed the commencement ceremony for her university graduation. She couldn’t remember turning off the iron and she was sure it would burn the house down. “What if…?
My grandmother had grown up in hunger because her father thought they might run out of food. He constantly yelled at his children when they ate their meager bites. After he died, they found canning jars of gold coins under the rickety floor. At this point, I often wonder a big “What if…?”
What if my great grandfather had not been afraid of starvation? What if my grandmother had not grown up in fear of her father’s screams? What if my mother had not been held in fear’s grip during the depression? What if I had not been allowed to let the power of fear take hold over me?
We had a close family friend who lived in the grip of alcohol. When his wife would call for help in the middle of the night, all of us went. I sat huddled on the couch while my dad was driving…searching…trying to bring our friend home before he hurt himself or someone else. I sat lost in my thoughts of “What if…”
I recently found a box of old letters written by my mother during my college days. It took me a while to understand why she had signed all of them with D.W. I found the answer in one tiny paragraph. She had told me, “Don’t worry. It’s a sin. So I’ll be signing the letters to remind you ‘Don’t worry!'” Really? Kind of late! The pattern was set early in my childhood!
Yes, I am well acquainted with the Bible verses dealing with fear and the admonitions He gives us to trust Him.
Yes, I spend much time with the Lord asking for His strength in the middle of a storm where the winds of fear blow.
Yes, I believe what the God tells us will happen in the end times.
Yes, I know in the middle of our country’s political tension, I can trust that ultimately God is in control. He knows the outcome. He knows every one of our steps.
Yes, although a wave of fear may hit me, I choose not to live in its grip.
What if illness or disease strike?
What if we suffer persecution?
What if the market drops?
What if terrorism increases?
What if I stop considering “What if?!”
“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:27