[forthright] Fear

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 15:48:59 -0200
  Forthright Magazine
  Going straight to the Cross

  Shrink your fears down to size.

  by Warren Baldwin

  When I was a kid my family lived in a large house
  out in the country. The house was over 100 years
  old when I lived in it, and it had some of the
  features of an old house: creaking floors, rooms
  with squeaky doors. It was a neat old house, the
  kind that has character. Memories. Memories from
  families that lived there before us and memories
  that we created. Lots of them.

  I love the memories, and I loved the house. That
  house was especially neat when our cousins from
  the city came to visit. With all the rooms and the
  dim lighting upstairs, my brothers and I came up
  with some pretty ingenious methods of entertaining
  our cousins. Well, entertaining ourselves, anyway,
  at our cousins' expense.

  For example, all we had to tell the younger
  cousins was, "There are lions and bears up there,
  so you better stay away." That worked when we
  wanted to keep them out of our room for a while.
  It also made it funny when their parents told them
  to go to bed, but they were afraid to go up into
  the black expanse of the "upstairs."

  "Good night, Brian. Watch out for the bears. Don't
  know how you can sleep with those things lurking
  around waiting to eat you."

  One time, we made a ghost out of a sheet. We
  strung a line from upstairs down the staircase and
  attached the ghost. When a couple of the cousins,
  girls this time, were getting ready to go
  upstairs, one of my brothers let fly with the
  ghost. Down the stairs it came, with us boys
  howling and the girls screaming.

  I miss that house. And the cousins.

  I think by now they have gotten over the fear that
  Jim, Bob, and I stirred within them. In that
  context, fear was a pretty harmless thing. Cousins
  teasing cousins about bears, lions, ghosts. Of
  course, there were parents there to assure the
  younger ones that there were no such creatures on
  the premises. "Look, I'll turn a light on. Do you
  see any mean creatures? You'll be fine." And they

  But fear never completely leaves us, does it? When
  we are children, it was fear of lions and bears.
  And ghosts. But when we get older, many of the
  fears are of a more serious nature, aren't they?
  Making enough money to pay the bills. Keeping a
  job in an age of cut-backs, lay-offs, and
  transferring of jobs to markets overseas. Crime.
  War. Health. Retirement. Our children's well-
  being. Then, later, there are grandkids to worry

  Do you ever long for the day when the only fears
  you have will be of imaginary lions, bears and
  ghosts that live upstairs at your cousins' house?

  I don't want to minimize anybody's fear about
  anything. I certainly don't want anybody doing
  that to me with the fears I try to manage! But one
  thing I try to do is keep fear in perspective. And
  to keep the objects of my fear in perspective.

  I know things don't always turn out well. But I
  know they usually do. And I know that, for one who
  trusts in a power greater than anything that
  threatens us, the things that cause us fear
  diminish in size and power.

  We can hold to the greatest words of hope and
  comfort ever uttered: "My peace I leave with you;
  my peace I give you ... Do not let your hearts be
  troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27).

  Jesus spoke those words. And they are more
  powerful than any bear, lion or ghost lurking in
  the shadows of my old house.

  You can help us get the word out. Here's how: