Do Not Fear

With the LORD on my side I do not fear. What can mortals do to me? ~Psalm 118:6

Mortals can do a lot of harm to each other. It always surprises me that this line was written by David when his life was anything but tranquil. As a warrior, David knew better than most just what mortals could do to each other. The tragic stories that we see on the news every day of those kidnapped, raped, and murdered remind us that we mortals can be pretty terrible to each other. In countries that see famine, war, and genocide, the brutal realities that David experienced are still very real and, in some cases, even magnified. It is part of our human nature to fear what mortals can do to us. We worry about home invasions, bullies, predators on the internet, being laughed at, etc.

We often substitute our own present inconsequential fears for those things that should truly be of concern to us. My son, for example, had the opportunity to go on a bike ride over the fourth of July with his uncle. This is something that he had been looking forward to for weeks because it meant that he and his cousin got to ride down a seven mile stretch of road from his grandparent's farm to the little gas station store on the highway in order to get ice cream. If he was able to handle this short stretch well then he would get to continue the journey several miles down the highway to the next town. He was eight years old at the time.

The time came for the trip and he realized that we really were going to make him wear his bike helmet. He was convinced that this would make him "look stupid" so he got upset and said that he would rather not go, then got even more upset because he didn't get to go (it doesn't make any sense to me either. I still haven't mastered child logic). After much talking and time we finally convinced him that the fun outweighed any potential of looking foolish (it's a very nice helmet by the way) and he was able to go, but by this time there wasn't enough time for the full trip and they only got to go down a mile and a half the other way to the end of the road and back with no ice cream and no long adventure.

My son placed his imagined and trivial fear of "looking stupid" over what should have been the real fear of the possibility of cracking his head open on the pavement. In the mean time, as he fussed over what we see as his trivial fear, he missed a huge blessing that was planned for him. The thing is, from his perspective the idea of "looking stupid" isn't trivial at all. The concept of cracking his head open is just some weird adult theory that, to him, pales in comparison to what he saw as the immediate issue.

It goes against our nature and becomes an article of faith to say and to mean "what can mortals do to me?" While it may be normal for us to fear what others can do to us, no matter how bad those things might seem, from God's perspective they are just as trivial in light of eternity as wearing a silly looking helmet that distract us from His ultimate truth and, in many cases, from the blessings that He has planned for us. Where in your life are you paying so much attention to worrying about the small stuff that you are missing what God would have you do?

Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in Hell. ~Matthew 10:28

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