Fear. An intriguing topic. A strange topic.
Fear. It’s been accepted as a norm. People are expected to be afraid. It’s the only reasonable sort of thing to do when faced with certain things. Certain things like the dark, the unknown, things outside your control, mysterious supernatural happenings, that one cockroach that just jumps out at you, those people who dare think differently, eschatological theories, immigrants, Donald Trump, Democrats, Republicans . . . and—most frightening of all—YOUR OWN REFLECTION!
Are we simply going to accept that this is the sort of way we must live our lives? Just believe it because we were told this is just the way it is? Frankly, I find this bothersome.
I once heard a story about this one man from a favorite preacher of mine, John Crowder. Crowder said there was this fellow who was being martyred for his faith. (I think it might have been St. Lawrence.) Burned to death, to be precise. But was he doing as the “end” drew near? Joking with his persecutors. Dude was so full of joy that he didn’t flippin’ care he was being burned to death.
Now, that is what I call living!
I remember the first time I had an open vision of “the forces of darkness,” if you will. I was inside this magnificent old church. St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, I believe. Huge dome. Beautiful pipe organ music and incense. My first visit to an Anglican church. Everything had been going wonderfully. I was feeling so sensitive to God’s presence. So peaceful.
Then, out of nowhere, we switch from that ambience to the pipe organ playing something akin to “Phantom of the Opera.” It was so random. I see these two sizable shadows moving up on the ceiling. I look around to see what they could belong to, but there was nothing. They just kept flitting around on the ceiling while this music played.
I realized something then. God is very big and very real and very good. These things are like a joke. Their presence (or lack thereof) couldn’t drown out the awe and the majesty of the imminent and transcendent one. I didn’t have to be afraid of them.