Lions And Tigers and Bears!

post223pic1_edited-1Yes! It’s finally time to pull the suitcases out of the closet, dust off the passports and head to the airport – we’re going to visit the kids in the UK! I can hardly wait to get this show on the road. I’m excited for the new destination and the sweet reunion that awaits us.

When I tell people that we are flying to Europe, the first thing some people ask is not, “Are you so excited to see your family!!” it’s, “Are you sure it’s safe?” Safe? Is it ever safe to strap yourself into a flying tin can that weighs several tons and carries enough fuel to be used as a bomb and then fly over an ocean?

It’s as safe as any other mode of transportation; perhaps safer than some.

Yes, but is it safe to go ‘over there’ you know, where terrorists are. Safe? Is anywhere safe? Was Orlando, San Bernardino, Chattanooga, Oklahoma, Boston, or Ft. Hood safe – terrorists, and people who want to kill other people are everywhere.

I’m reminded of Dorothy, as she set off toward Oz singing, “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” There will always be something to be afraid of, if we choose to live in fear. That is a place in which I really don’t want to live. Like Dorothy, I want to keep moving forward.

However, to say I live fearlessly would not be accurate; there are things I do fear, but I hope I don’t give in to fear. What I try to do is take positive action to prevent the things I fear from coming to fruition.

For example: I fear getting the flu (I had a taste last year, and I don’t want to go there again!) so I will get a flu shot this fall. In addition, I fear falling off high places, so I don’t climb mountains or sit in the upper deck of sports arenas.

I fear deteriorating illness and Alzheimer’s, so I try to eat healthy, get good rest, walk and exercise to keep my body strong; and I read, work puzzles and do crosswords to keep my brain fit. However, we all know, there are no guarantees.

Once, at an initial visit with a new doctor, he said, “I will do everything I can to keep you alive as long as possible.” When I told him my day of death was already recorded he asked, “Then why are you here?” “Obviously,” I said, “I want to be as healthy as I can until I get there.”

“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” – Psalm 139:16b NIV

 I don’t think this means that God predestined that I would die on a certain day – but I do think it means that he foreknew every day of my life. I think it means that what I do, where I go, the circumstances around me, and the decisions I make are not a surprise to God. Neither will my day of death catch him off guard.

Because God is eternal and omnipresent he is here, in every day of my life; and he is already there at the end of my life. He is waiting for me there, and he is living with me now. I am actually living in him and he is in me. Whom shall I fear? What shall I fear? Well… I’m not perfect.

Even if the things I fear most do happen, God will sustain me. He walks every path with me. He flies in every plane. He never leaves me. He strengthens me. He sustains me. He equips me. He holds me close. His plan for me is perfect. Whatever he allows to happen to me, I know it comes from a loving Father who is always good.

Does that mean I will enjoy the hard and fearful things? Probably not. But it does mean I should be able to endure and persevere through them. It does mean that fear won’t defeat me because God has defeated everything I could possibly fear, including death.

Death is one thing I definitely don’t fear. I don’t fear death by terrorist attack or illness or old age. I don’t fear death, because like this trip – I am looking forward to the destination and I am anticipating a sweet reunion when I get there. When I leave this body, I will be with Jesus.

I know that, because when I heard the Gospel of Jesus, I received it as truth, and I have trusted Jesus with my life today; therefore I know with certainty that I will be with him eternally.

 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” – John 5:24 NIV

 “I will deliver this people from the power of the grave;     I will redeem them from death.” Hosea 13:14a NIV

When we think about it, if the worst thing that can happen to us is death – is it that bad? No, I dare say, it is that good.

Because death, the most fearsome thing is defeated, we can live fearlessly now. Do you? Will you? Will you walk whatever path God has for you fearlessly trusting that he is with you every step of the way?

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