Faith or Fear

How do you approach life?  When making decisions, do you feel hopeful about possibilities?  Or do you feel nervous about what might go wrong?  While most of us do not face all of life in one mode or the other, we do face each little turning point along the way either by faith or by fear.  And many do spend more time in one camp over the other.  Where do you camp out?  Faith or fear?

Some of you ladies may have a hard time relating to this example, but I’m guessing the guys will know exactly what I’m talking about.  Remember that boyhood phrase, “My Dad can beat up your Dad!”  You may or may not have actually said it yourself, but you remember hearing it, or something like it.  While this idea may seem brutal or absurd to the female folk, it actually gives great comfort to a young boy.  It is a proclamation of security.  Whatever bad things the world might throw at me, I will be safe, because my Dad is strong enough to handle it.

And facing life with this kind of security frees a boy to be adventurous and daring, taking risks and living out loud.  Because his Father is not far away, and has what it takes to cover the boy’s vulnerabilities.  I remember two very distinct events in my life when I viewed my Dad as a giant among men, giving me a very tangible sense of security to face life.

The first was as a small boy when my family went to the annual Christmas banquet held at my Dad’s military base in Little Rock.  Of course, I had always found it cool to go to the base and see all the helicopters, planes, weapons, and military gear.  Even cooler was the way all those guys always saluted my Dad.  Well, on this particular year, I’m guessing Dad must have already made Lieutenant Colonel (he would later retire a full Colonel).  When it came time to sit down for the meal, I found out my Dad would not be sitting with us.  Initially, I felt a bit anxious and exposed, because I really didn’t understand all the military stuff around me, but Dad had all the answers and helped me understand it.  Then I discovered why he wasn’t sitting with us.  He was sitting at the head table with the big shots – Colonels and Generals.  The other big shots, I should say, because I realized in that moment, “My Dad is one of the top dogs in the state!  He’s the man!”  I have never forgotten how powerful I felt in that moment, simply because I got a glimpse of how powerful my Dad was.

The other event came a couple years later after an older boy in the neighborhood had been picking on me for a while, really intimidating me and making my life miserable.  I had learned (from some wise words from my older sister) how to keep from getting so openly riled up by him, and he had backed off some – but not entirely.  And then the flash flood came.  This neighbor had been out riding his bike through the neigborhood and intermingled woods when a flash flood dumped a ton of water into the creeks.  Somehow, he got too close to one of the creeks near a culvert, and lost control, tumbling into the temporarily raging water.  His bike was sucked into the culvert first, and then became lodged and immovable.  He was sucked in after the bike, and the rising water pinned him in and threatened to drown him.

His cries for help finally got the attention of a passerby – my Dad.  Dad jumped out of his car and into the creek to rescue him.  However, for all my Dad’s strength (which was considerable at that time), he was unable to pull him free from the incredible force of the storm surge.  He held him with his head above water and offered him words of comfort and assurance until a second man joined him to pull the boy free.  Dad was the neighborhood hero!

And guess who never picked on me again!

Having an all-powerful Father on your side provides you with a freedom to enjoy life without fear.  You just know life will be okay, even when there are problems to overcome.  Because you believe your Father will take care of you, and take care of life.  While I have grown to realize my Dad is not all-powerful, I have also grown to believe I do have a Father whose all-powerful love for me will constantly take care of me and will make everything okay.  And the more I face each little (or big) life decision out of this faith, I see fear melt away and freedom come in to take its place.  I have done time in the prison of fear.  I’ll take freedom.  Faith is the key.  And my Dad can beat up the world’s dad!

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