Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Paralysis of Fear

We all live with some degree of fear and are stymied by it.  A prevalent fear among the older population today is the fear that their financial resources will run out.  They fear a fixed income will not meet their future needs.   They fear that Social Security and Medicare won’t be there for them when they need it, especially if those resources are used up by those who have not contributed.

This is the same fear that paralyzed the widow in that Elijah story recorded in the Old Testament (I Kings 17:8ff).  Elijah asked for a little water.  The poor widow could manage that.  Then he asked for a piece of bread and that brought out her fear, a deep-seated, paralyzing fear.  “As the Lord your God lives, I have no food to sustain me except a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a flask.  Here I am gathering two or three sticks to go and cook something for my son and myself before we die.”  Her fear was real.  She was at the end of her rope—ready to cook the last meal for herself and her son.  There was nothing imaginary about her fear—it was real and it was draining the life out of her, as all fear does.

“Never fear, “ said Elijah, “go and do as you say; but first make me a small cake from what you have and bring it out to me; and after that make something for your son and yourself.  For this is the word of the Lord the God of Israel:  ‘The jar of flour shall not give out nor the flask of oil fail.’”  She went and did as Elijah had said, and there was food for him and for her and her family for a long time.  The widow’s fear left her.  She gave what she had to Elijah and still had enough left for herself.  “The jar of flour did not give out nor did the flask of oil fail.”  

When we fear that the jar of flour will give out and the flask of oil will fail, we live a fearful life—afraid that there is not enough to go around—and we become paralyzed as a people, a nation, and world!
Monument Valley, Utah--2016

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