Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? I think we all are. People deal with fear everyday and it comes in different forms. Here is the short list. We experience fear of failure, fear of dying, fear of flying, fear of water, fear of heights, fear of the dark and the fear of being alone. It is often the most primary emotion of all. It’s like a dart gun that hits the victim with one deep paralyzing shot of fear. How about the familiar phrase that has struck fear into the heart of every misbehaving son? My mama would yell, “just wait till your daddy comes home.” My dad laid down the law in our house and often I would find myself on the wrong side of it. With fear and anxiety I found a safe corner and didn’t move until the sheriff of the house got home. I knew my booty would soon be burning from the well placed licks of an old leather strap. One summer I got a visit from the big bad wolf of fear and I will never forget it. In the distance I can still hear the pounding of my beating heart as a menacing snake-like hiss penetrated the quiet night of our small town. The bug machine was huffing and puffing and it was closing in fast to blow me down.
This dark green beast bellowed like a snarling out of control water hose as it slowing crept on the street. In it’s wake the ghostly figure spit a thick fog of smoke in the evening air. Was this a fire breathing dragon? Or maybe it was Godzilla. Nope. I was all too familiar with this foe. It was the big bad wolf and as an eight year old boy nothing could strike more fear in me than a noisy stinky bug machine. Not even daddy’s leather strap could compare. Back in the summer nights of the late 1970’s it was common for this hunk of junk to drive around the city killing mosquitos. It had a huge spout that released a eerie haze into the atmosphere. And as for as I know I don’t think this fogging truck ever killed any little children. But during my traumatic encounters with this truck I wasn’t so sure about that. One day the bug machine showed up while I was shooting basketball at a friends house. I immediately dropped my ball and took off sprinting home in sheer panic. And then one day I just stopped running.
FEAR GOD AND NOT MAN
The tattoo on my right arm is a reminder of who I fear. Isn’t that how it happens in the battles of fear and faith? There are always signs and symbols that point us in the right direction. Our minds become heathy as we eventually learn how to walk in the fear and admonition of our Father. As His children our mind is still running to create something it perceives as dangerous but is quite harmless. And when I was child I fell prey to my own faulty perception of things. My bug machine story is about the innocence of a young life and how I eventually outgrew my fears and slew the bug machine. Even tho I’m a big kid now I still battle fears and it requires more than just throwing down my ball and running home. As grown folks we lay self-made booby traps and then we become submissive slaves to our fears. We can break free and the eternal arsenal of God’s word is the only true weapon that we can use against an enemy like fear.
A key verse that stands toe to toe with the frailty of the human mind is found In II Timothy 1:7. “For our God hah not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Now we could argue as to what constitutes a sound mind. The picture of me scrambling to the house as a frantic little boy doesn’t paint a very serene picture of cool, calm and collected thinking. My early years gave way to fearful thinking and too much idle time spent with worry. If you read my bio page about my near fatal bicycle accident then you will understand why I worried. The bug machine started howling one year after my collision course with a cadillac so I was already a big scaredy-cat. In scripture the word fear not is referenced a lot and I believe its the Fathers way of giving us a much needed caress of comfort and peace. I can’t imagine a single day living without His presence and safe keeping. Here is a verse that encourages us not to entertain any thoughts of fear but to focus on the Father.
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word i praise. In God I trust, I will not be afraid. What can moral man do to me? Psalms 56: 3-4.
The Father is our shelter and our hiding place
My son Jenson is almost three and he will leave little clues as to what he is afraid of. On some days when we go out to play he will ask, “hey daddy what is that sound? I watch him closely because I know He doesn’t like the neighbors ATV. Boy does life come full circle when I see him running to the house after it roars by. I tend to listen to my son’s fears because the bug machine had me running too. Sometimes the big bad wolf will show up at my door and the air smells rank with the scent of my fear and loss of solitude. And yes, my Heavenly Father tends to listen for my call of distress no matter how unreasonable or silly it seems. I will not fear life nor death because there is a perfect love that casts out fear. In the dark and deep I will swim and not be afraid. Lord you are my lifeguard. High atop the watchtower you keep me from drowning in troubled waters. In the darkness desolation of that night “you are my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear.The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid. Psalms 27:1
Many summer nights ago the old bug machine took its final laps in the small Mississippi town where I was raised. And maybe somewhere this truck sits in a junkyard or empty field where it is covered in rust and forever silenced by father time. I think of the many fears that have been silenced because I prayed to the Father to be my help and my peace. But you can believe that the wolf is still running around and he is busy causing doubt and discouragement. But we can no longer be grounded by our childish fears. When the moon is full and the wolf is barking at the door you can mount up with the wings of an eagle and fly to safe heights. The Lord says “Fear not” as your bug machine rolls by in the mist of a foggy horizon.