Friday, October 6, 2023

When Fear Takes Over - Martin Wiles

when fear takes over
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 NLT

He flailed his arms and feet, screaming and crying. When fear takes over, we often act irrationally. 

A trip to an urgent care center can be traumatic for a six-year-old boy who doesn’t know what’s going to happen. And one of our grandsons didn’t.

As his schoolteacher passed back papers, he happened to move his head at the same time she gave him his paper. The edge of the paper slid into the corner of his eye, giving him a paper cut—a painful experience under any circumstances. The teacher immediately sent him to the school nurse who examined him and sent a text to his mom. 

By the time I picked him up after school, he covered his eye with his hand and complained that he couldn’t open it. What happened? Does it hurt? Can you see out of it? Don’t rub it with your hand. I asked all the questions and said all the things a good grandparent should. But Meme asked more questions and said, “He needs to go to the doctor.” 

Meme loaded him up and carted him to an urgent care center—a place he’d been several years before for a cut in his cornea. Perhaps he remembered the trauma—and the patch. He was in no mood to let the nurse or doctor insert the drops that would illuminate his eye. 

By this time, his mom had arrived. With the help of two nurses, one mom, and one Meme, the doctor finally dropped the drop in his eye. Fortunately, the cut only affected the corner of his eye. No major damage. He would only need some antibiotic drops. But my grandson’s emotions were another story. Hours passed before he stopped crying and settled down. 

Meme picked up the antibiotic drops the next day. When I came home from work, she said, “You’re gonna have to help me put these drops in his eyes.” I tried. The scene from the day before repeated itself. Flailing legs and arms. Squinted eyes. Crying and screaming. We finally gave up, and I texted his mom: “Good luck with the eye drops.” Her only recourse was to put them in after he went to sleep and before he awoke in the morning. 

I remember a fearful time when I wasn’t much older than my grandson. The time when an infected finger drove me to the emergency room and resulted in a shot and a removed fingernail. I, too, screamed at the top of my lungs. 

Fear kept our grandson from cooperating, even though what we tried to do was for his own good. Fear also crept over Jesus’ disciples when He told them He would be crucified. Afterward, He would be resurrected and ascend to His Father in heaven. In their coming moments of fear, however, He would leave them peace of mind and heart through the presence of His Spirit. 

Fear has disadvantages and benefits. Unhealthy fear takes over. We don’t understand what’s happening to or around us because we’re traveling in unchartered territory or don’t trust the One orchestrating our circumstances. 

Good fear leads us to take precautions to protect ourselves, our health, and the others we love. Perfect love—the kind God gives—casts out fear and leads us to let go and trust God. We’re always safe with Him. 

What can you do when fear grips you?

Father, thank You for not giving me a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. 

Tweetable: What do you do when fear takes over? 

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