I don’t like scary movies. Wait, let me rephrase that, I HATE horror movies of all kinds. Yes, I am using the word “hate”- a word my children are told is not allowed and that I truly try to not use in my vocabulary. However, when it comes to me and those movies, hate is the only thing I can think of. I don’t like to have things jump out at me, can’t stand gore, and don’t even get me started on scary dolls or those twins in The Shining.
Some of us like to be scared. Jaws grossed $260 million domestically (and for some of you rolling your eyes at me, yes I consider Jaws a very scary movie). It’s exhilarating to have the increase of heart rate, that surge in adrenaline. Nope, not for me.
I had a psychology professor once tell our class that when surveyed, people fear public speaking more than death. When we heard that, it seemed ridiculous, crazy even. But, I have many fears that to others may seem senseless; scary movies being near the top, along with snakes, seaweed, mice, the zombie apocalypse (ok maybe I’m being a little dramatic) just to name a few.
But our Psalm this week tells us:
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Simple enough, right?
There are the fears that live much deeper inside of us. Fears that we sometimes can’t even bring ourselves to think about because the reality of them seems insurmountable. The loss of a child, family members getting sick, financial instability, vulnerability, addiction, fear of other people.
What does our fear do to us? At times it can be crippling. Fear can cause anger, sadness, loneliness, the inability to see outside of ourselves. Fear can cause us to hate.
When faced with such fear, there is only one place in which to turn: Faith.
Such a simple word, but sometimes a challenging concept. I came across a sermon from Deitrich Bonhoeffer about overcoming fear. His words on faith spoke so much to me.
Only the faith that leaves behind all false confidence, letting it fall and break down, can overcome fear. This is faith: it does not rely on itself or on favorable seas, favorable conditions; it does not rely on its own strength or on other people’s strength, but believes only and alone in God, whether or not there is a storm. It is the only faith that is not superstition and does not let us slip back into fear, but makes us free of fear.
Erika Weber, Co-Director of Children and Family Ministry