Tuesday afternoon I walked out of my office and made my way to the car little knowing what was about to happen. Without any warning, a large White Cockatoo swooped in from high above and behind me and in an obvious threat whilst screeching at the top of its lungs. As you no doubt know, a Cockatoo is a very loud bird.
The combination of the swoop and the cry really caught me out and so the Cockatoo achieved its desire, which was to frighten me. I thought nothing more of it until Wednesday afternoon when, like clockwork, precisely the same thing happened again…the swoop, the screech and the frightened response from myself.
I could not work it out, there was no nest nearby; no trees to speak of in the immediate vicinity but obviously I was encroaching on what this particular bird saw as its ‘territory’.
When Thursday afternoon came I was wary, I looked around before I left my office, I walked to my car with a little more hesitation than ever before and the only thing on my mind was the potential danger of a sudden ‘swoop attack’…but none came…
On Friday afternoon I noticed something – the fear was now established and my expectation and my walk to the car were now changed. I now expected to be hassled and threatened even though there was no crazy white bird in sight.
If fear could be given a personality it would be type that waits in dark corners and delights in imprisoning you with thoughts of what could go wrong and of what terrible things could happen next. Fear constricts movement and freedom and is the sworn enemy of joy and peace. Fear can get a hold of you through real experiences or through threats and memories. Fear can cause you to stop exploring possibilities and can restrict you to a safe, limited and inhibited life.
We have to be wise about things which are dangerous but we don’t have to live as a prisoner to fears which should have passed or fears which have no present reality.
The life of Christ speaks loudly to us about how to deal with fear…His birth was announced to the Shepherds with the words “Fear Not! Jesus regularly said to the Disciples “Do not be afraid!” Jesus demonstrated confidence in the midst of trial and grace in the midst of violence and wrongdoing. He never let fear have the upper hand and He stands before us encouraging us to do the same. Remember, if the Lord is with you – you have no reason to be afraid!