I know that You can do anything, and no one can stop You.” Job 42:2
Poor Chicken Little. He had it all wrong. The story is told of a little chicken (aptly named Chicken Little) who was walking one day and a bird dropped an acorn which hit him on the head. Chicken Little assumed that the sky was falling and the world as he knew it was coming to an end. He rushed to tell the king and along the way told others of the bad news. They in turn joined him in the quest to tell the king. The only problem was the sky wasn’t falling.
When I was a kid, like so many of us, I wrestled with fear. There was the standard fear of the dark. When the lights went out, my heart rate went up. My vivid imagination allowed for plenty of strange things to be seen in the darkness and sometimes even in the light. I remember as a six or seven year old sitting in the bathtub and seeing “eyes” peering at me from inside the overflow drain. “Maybe it is a snake” I thought. “Perhaps it was a giant rat that lived inside the drain.” Regardless, for years I lived in fear until one day I got brave. I took a flashlight into the bathroom and shined the light in the drain. It turned out to be the tops of two brass screws inside the drain!
When I was a little older the fear thing still lingered. With too many people and not enough house, I found myself sleeping in the dining room. Mom and dad moved the table somewhere and put a twin bed there instead. We lived in Florida and trust me it was HOT and it was HUMID and air conditioning was something that we DIDN’T have. Each night I would crawl into bed, a fan in the window at least stirring the warm evening air. And each night the monsters would come out. Of course they weren’t real. Of course they didn’t exist. Right…but try telling that to a young boy with a vivid imagination.
I had to do something and I did. I would reach down and pull the sheet and bedspread over my head and lie still. I don’t know if the idea was the sheet and bedspread would somehow protect me or if they simply would hide me. But there I would lie hiding, sweating and praying that whatever hid in the darkness wouldn’t eat me. I guess it worked because I’m still here today but boy was it HOT!
I guess I finally overcame most of my fears. I have to admit though when Bubba the goose hisses at me in the park, it still makes my skin kinda tingle. To some degree fear is still a stalker in my life. Instead of snakes in a drain or monsters in the dark or bad guys in the house it has become the uncertainty of these uncertain days. And I know I am not alone. Every time we turn on the news we are told that the sky is indeed falling and that the end of world as we know it is coming. As I waited for the morning weather forecast today, a story popped up on the screen about a new strain of the swine flu in China that could or would certainly be the next pandemic. What? Excuse me?
I am a guy who gets to serve God and people as a pastor and there is one thing I know. God is in charge and He is bigger than any of it and all of it. You may have heard of a guy named Job—and no he was not related to Steve Jobs. (Smile) His sky in fact did fall and he ended up losing everything. Well, actually his “why don’t you give up and die” wife stuck around but so did his faith in God. In fact, in the midst of his hot mess, Job said this, “I know that You can do anything, and no one can stop You.” Score one for Job. He believed that God was in charge, that God had a plan and that nothing was going to happen on His watch unless He said so.
Now that is some real good, real comforting, real “you take that fear” news. But you also need to know that sometimes that can be hard. God’s plans don’t always mean I get what I want…in fact, often it means the opposite. But hey, I was the guy who manufactured monsters in his head. But it still means that God is good, that God is faithful and that God can be trusted. It does mean that He is watching out for my good and He is working to bring His glorious plan to pass. A friend of mine recently suggested that perhaps it is time that we turn off the bad news. I agree. The broadcasters know that bad news “sells” and they are dishing it out by the buckets full. Corrie ten Boom, a concentration camp survivor from World War II said, “If you look at the world, you will be distressed. If you look within, you will be depressed. But if you look at Christ you will be at rest.” What powerful and true words. If you are not a God follower perhaps this sounds a little far fetched. Trust me…He is worth checking out. He is the real deal…not church…not religion…and certainly not the fear mongers. You can rest in Him…because He’s got this.