The other day I observed a little five-year-old boy angrily strutting around the room with chest thrust out and fists clenched. While others were quietly playing Sammy (not his real name) was throwing toys, whacking who ever got in his way, and shouting “figgy pudding” (not his actual words) loud and clear for all to hear. Sammy was in a children’s shelter. For whatever reason, the authorities had taken him from his parents. He was afraid.
My daughters have some pretty crazy fears: one is afraid of baby dolls (the porcelain ones with moving eyes) and the other is afraid of clowns (all of the clowns in the entire world). I’m not sure where our girls’ fears came from except for the fact that baby dolls and clowns are both kind of creepy. One friend of ours is afraid of walkers and canes. Fear is a funny thing. I don’t think God created us to be afraid; I don’t think God wants us to be afraid.
When I was a kid, monsters and skeletons — the ones that were alive and ate children — scared the bajeebers (real word) out of me. My adult fears are much bigger but just as irrational. Fears like afraid I won’t have enough money to pay my bills or afraid the car will break down. And even bigger fears like I won’t be accepted or that when I die it won’t really matter much to those left behind.
People say that angels must be big and scary and that’s why the first thing angels in the Bible always say to people is, “Fear not.” I think the reason angels say “fear not” isn’t because angels are scary, but because people are always afraid.
2000 years ago, in the midst of normal life, in the midst of daily activities and anxieties, God interrupted the lives of simple, average people — teenagers and carpenters and shepherds — and said “Fear not.” May God also interrupt my life this day.
Calvin G. Roso © December 2013