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Many Dangers, Toils, and Snares

What’s your greatest fear?   A survey circulating on Facebook asks this question.  Touched by the honest answers I’ve read, I decided to consider my own response.  I’m not tormented by aerophobia, acrophobia, or  arachniphobia (fear of flying, heights, spiders). I’m OK in small spaces and in the dark.  I’m far less afraid of public speaking than most people.  I’ll admit to being a little cynophobic, not wanting dogs to lick me, bite me or knock me down.

Despite four decades of driving without a ticket or accident (except for backing into a parked car in 1992 – fear of lying?), my heart pounds at the prospect of driving in a big city.  Maybe I could do it if it was necessary – maybe.  Currently my husband who likes to be behind the wheel enables me to stay in the passenger seat.  It is a little embarrassing to admit that while we were anticipating his heart surgery, my fear of metro area driving was right up there with my concern for him.   Nevertheless, I wouldn’t call Driving Phobia (no Greek word?!) my greatest fear.

Actually, its things that I have no control over that frighten me more.   At age 9, I learned about SIDS and feared my baby brother would die.  As a young mom, I feared that the loud, low-flying plane would crash into our house.  Hearing that a tire had flown off of a semi and caused a tragic accident made travel more ominous.  None of these freak events occurred, but we all know that bad things happen to all people.

I still remember the neighbor boy coming in my house to tell me that my pet cat, Blackie, was hit by a car.  I can still hear the voice of a dear friend on the phone saying that a classmate had been killed in a crash shortly after our graduation.  And I will never forget the knock on my dorm room door the day Mom came to tell me that Dad had passed from cancer.

So, what is my greatest fear?  I’ve dreaded the possibility that one of our sons could be involved in a tragic accident, and I have worried that it could happen while my husband is out of town working, leaving me to get there and deal with it alone.  That is one of the worst situations I can imagine.

But, you know, I don’t worry as much as I used to, and I can testify that Grace has brought me through many dangers, toils, and snares.  Not only that, but when I’m willing to cast my anxiety on God in thankful prayer, fear is replaced by peace – just like He promised (Philippians 4:6-8).  My biggest challenge may be to overcome the fear of losing the things that I’m so thankful for.  I need to remind myself that things of this life, while important, are temporary.  There is a place and time coming that will not include sadness, pain and death.

But, what if I am required to go through many years without the person who knows me intimately and loves me so well?  Actually, my Lord Jesus answered that question on November 17, 2011, after my husband came through emergency surgery.  That night, as I was thanking God, I asked him, “But what if I had lost him?”  The Lord said to me, “If it had gone the other way, he would be with me and I would still be with you.”  Perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18).  My peace of mind comes when I believe what God has said.

 

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Father, forgive us.

This week I’m sharing a poem that I penned about 15 years ago.  It’s still very thought-provoking and humbling to me. 

Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do.

We read your words; make them fit our beliefs

 without ever hearing you.

Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do.

Won’t turning the other cheek make us seem weak?

You wouldn’t want that, would you?

 

Father, forgive us, for we can’t help how we feel.

Doesn’t love have to start with a throb of the heart?

Can doing good make our love real?

Father, forgive us, we’ve been taught and we’ve learned.

Stand up for our rights; sometimes we have to fight.

What’s ours we should keep; it’s been earned.

 

Father, forgive us, but did you really say

we’re to love you with all our heart, soul and mind?

And that if we love, we’ll obey?

Father, forgive us, but what you ask is tough.

Do those who would beat us, badmouth and cheat us

really deserve our love?

 

Father, forgive us, but how can you expect

us to not only give up the right to get even,

but also forgive, love and bless?

Has this method been proven?  Can it be done?

Does loving one’s enemies work?

What’s that?  You want us to look at your Son,

and the mission you gave Him on Earth?

 

The world that you loved, that you sent Him to save

was full of darkness and pride.

Though He did not condemn and spoke only truth,

he was hated by foes; by friends, denied.

And the one who was tempted, but never gave in,

lived only to serve, not be served.

Greater love has no man than he lay down his life.

Could anyone claim it deserved?

In silence He bent his back to the whip,

took the mocking, the sneering, the crown.

Between two thieves he was hung on the cross

till with love his life He laid down.

But, Christ did not die without speaking his mind.

He had words for the crowd and us, too.

“Pray for those who mistreat you” had been his command.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

By Lisa Frisch

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