Fighting Fear with Faith
One evening Chris and I found ourselves at the movies with four teenagers. We filled up an entire row, and somehow I had wound up sitting all the way against the wall.
The theater wasn’t all that full as a very popular newly released film was playing in two of the other theaters there, so it wasn’t too bad.
Until three young men walked in right before the feature started playing.
They entered the room single file, silently, and with hands tucked into coat pockets. It was very odd for guys of this age.
I watched as they chose seats away from everyone else, in front of everyone else, and between everyone else and the exit directly to outside the building.
So now, if one of them were a shooter, our only exit point would be the door into the theater lobby located behind us three rows.
Yes, that’s immediately where my mind went. And being a long row of adult-sized people I debated the best way to get an exit strategy communicated to everyone in our row without alarming the full row of people in front or behind us.
I have just enough training in what we call “active shooter” training to assess most situations and have a plan whether needed or not. Based on generic characteristics, I felt a need for a plan.
Before alarming anyone, I took a moment to assess every other person in attendance. No one else jumped out at me as odd. However, as my eyes made a final sweep around the room, I noticed the third young man taking off his coat and laying it on the seat in front of him.
A different thought process took over.
Carrie, this is three young men together. They are even sitting together. Shooters are typically loners. In the rare case there would be multiples they would more than likely have split up. They are all taking off their coats now. Not packing extra ammo or planning a fast getaway.
It was time to do what I should have done in the first place.
Father, I’m not 100 percent sure about the situation in front of me, but I want to protect those in my care and those you’ve placed in this building with me. If there is nothing wrong here, please give me a feeling of peace so I can enjoy this time. But if I need to be ready to react, please give me a spirit of discernment and make me so uncomfortable that I can’t ignore it.
And in that moment, I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of my evening.
For years I’ve heard that scripture repeated, taught, preached on: “Why are you afraid? Do you STILL have no faith?”
After everything you have witness God do, you are still clinging to your fears. You are still choosing worry over God. Christian people who have put their faith in God don’t worry and aren’t afraid of anything.
And I cringe every time I hear it.
We all face situations in life that bring us fear. Often, I can’t even recognize my need for faith until I’ve felt fear.
I’ve never counted, so I don’t know if this is true or not, but I’ve heard many people say that the words “fear not”, or some variation meaning the same thing, appear more than 365 times in the Bible. That’s at least one time for each day of the year.
I think God knew we were going to be afraid.
Faith isn’t the absence of fear, but the decision to look fear in the eyes and say, “God’s got this, and I’m going along for the ride.”
Faith isn’t ignoring our situation. It isn’t pretending we aren’t afraid. It’s acknowledging the fear, giving the situation BACK to God, asking Him what our response should be, and responding as He directs not as our feelings dictate.
Do you feel like you aren’t “good” enough because you still have fears? Well, guess what?
You aren’t alone. Everyone does. If they didn’t, their faith would be fully developed. The only person in human form that has ever reached that status was born with a fully developed faith, and that was Jesus Christ.
The rest of us? We are all works in progress until the day we’re called home.