There’s a lost dog in my neighborhood and the other day I saw her. When I approached her she ran into the woods. She didn’t know me so afraid, she ran. The remainder of the week I went back to that spot time and time again, sometimes staying and calling her name for hours to no avail. She’s a house dog, she hasn’t been outside very much so I imagine she is terrified, in addition to being hungry and totally out of her comfort zone. Yet even when her owners come for her she won’t come to them.
It doesn’t make any sense! She hears the voices, especially the familiar ones, she’s hot, hungry, and knows she would be safe with those who love her, yet she still refuses to come! Fear has gripped her and instead of doing what she knows she should do she does completely the opposite. I’m afraid she will die of starvation and the elements to which she is unaccustomed all because she is scared. It seems she would rather stay where she is than take a chance to come out and be loved and cared for.
That’s precisely what fear does. I know. I’ve lived with it all my life.
When fear grips it changes the ability to think rationally and we find ourselves reacting instead of acting. We do things and say things we would never do with a clear mind. Sometimes we freeze, deciding to stay in the mess we’re in because we are just too afraid to take a chance on trying to change things.
Perhaps we’ve been hurt – or really hurt someone else – when we’ve conjured up the courage go attempt to go beyond ourselves and we’re just too afraid to take the chance again. Although legitimate, living that way robs us of the experience of trusting God (and ourselves) and perhaps the countless blessings He had for us.
So we stay…even knowing it’s not right, it’s painful, yet, we stay. At least we’re familiar with how it is, there are no surprises, there is nothing expected. We surrender to fear and decide to survive.
Fear takes our faith. When we live based on what we are afraid of, we can’t function in faith. They simply cannot coexist. We must choose one or the other. If we choose fear before long, our hearts and minds are infiltrated and we’ve convinced ourselves it is the way we think it is, and hope fades. We someday will realize that living in fear has totally failed us and robbed us. Soon we’ll find ourselves in an ocean of regret, pruning and nourishing our bitterness and despair.
Let’s decide today that we’ll no longer be our own prisoner. Let’s take a tiny step forward to the safe hands and presence of the One who loves us the most. The first step is the hardest, the next will be a little easier. Let’s trust as we walk straight into His arms. He will never fail us. He’ll comfort us and help us through whatever we’re afraid of.
Unlike that little dog (who is still in the woods by the way), when you hear His voice, take a chance and step out. You’ll be glad you did.
Luke 21:34: “Be on guard so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;”