As a child there was always one job that I hated doing around the house. It was not that I was unwilling; it was not that the job was particularly difficult – it was the fact that the job had to be done in the dark.
The simple task that faced me each Tuesday night was taking out the garbage but at 7 years old, I always found walking up the drive and returning to my front door in the darkness constricting. It was not the walking out that bothered me but the turning my back upon the darkness and making my way home. It was the fear of what may be lurking or waiting…
I don’t know why I feared the darkness, I do not recall even the slightest trauma, I was never left in the dark, I never really had an experience which would lead me to be scared, but I was.
This week we have been exposed to a lot of fear: Police raids have led to the arrests of suspected domestic terrorists; the Threat Level has been officially raised to ‘High’ which means an incident is immanent; security has been stepped up at airports and government buildings; news reports have focussed on planned activities which include random attacks and even the threat of a beheading on Australian soil.
These dangers have moved us all from an intangible concern to a palpable fear.
The problem with fear is that it constricts action; the rabbit dies because fear causes it to freeze rather than fleeing from the car that will take its life. Fear causes us to grow suspicious; we notice things that are not there and we question normal behaviour because we fear it is something else. Fear brings limitation and hindrance as we ‘put off’ activities because of the ‘what if?’.
There are a lot of reasons I value the reading of the Bible but one of my favourites is the way it deals with fear. It is not silent on the matter; in fact there are hundreds of statements, encouragements and examples on how to respond when fear seems like the only option.
The main response the Bible advocates is to “Fear Not!” This may seem trite or simplistic but not when there is a real reason for such enduring confidence. For thousands of years individuals have found strength in the midst of fear and I hope that you are able to join them.
I am no longer afraid of the dark because I know the Light!