Our black Labrador retriever, Bentley, never tires. He is high energy. When I enter the back yard he usually approaches me with a ball in his mouth. But, he refuses to drop it. I attempt to pull it out, but he won’t let it go. Then the shouting match begins. “Bentley, drop it!”
The longer he refuses to drop it, the harder it is for him to let it go. The longer it stays in his mouth, the thicker the deposit of slimy saliva encircles the ball. And then I’m reluctant to touch it, when it falls to the ground. When he comes in the garage at night to get into his bed with his sister Sadie, after a long day of playing, he brings his ball and sleeps with it, some crazy type of security for him.
In the world of cartoons, Linus, from the Peanuts gang, is forever seen holding his security blanket, something he won’t drop. Snoopy, Lucy and Sally try to convince Linus multiple times to separate himself from it, but with no success. But there is one occasion when his fingers finally unclasp the soft covering and it falls to the floor, much to everyone’s surprise.
The setting is a stage in front of a big curtain where Charlie Brown tells Linus, “Everything I do turns into a disaster.” Linus doesn’t hesitate to help. He walks to the center of the stage and as soon as Linus reads “Fear Not!” from the scriptures, something unthinkable happens. He drops his security blanket.
Christ wants to separate us from our fears. But He doesn’t forcefully unclasp our fingers from whatever we are holding onto for comfort, security, significance, or maybe even habits we are unable and unwilling to break.
I use to brag about my health, but heart disease entered the picture and eventually Covid showed up. Like millions of other people, shot after shot after shot, didn’t keep me from walking through months of endless bizarre symptoms.
You can’t hang on to your security blanket, whatever that is, and God too. Just like, you can’t have your sin and eat it too. Why did God give us two hands? Maybe He wanted to give us opportunity after opportunity to choose.
Unfortunately, the right hand may be presented to the world for others to see, a hand seeking the approval of others, handshake after handshake, while we hide the left hand behind our back, holding on to what we refuse to let go of. No one notices because the right hand is so busy out front pleasing others, maybe even successfully putting up a front.
But 2022 came, scarier than 2021 or 2020, making it even harder to fear not. Our world is an alarming place and we naturally want to grasp for any type of temporal security, no matter the shape or size.
A thick cloud, like a weighted blanket has covered our land. One that has cloaked many good people with depression, hopelessness, and fatigue. And for some, each day gets harder and harder to find the strength to get out from under that heavy covering.
I don’t know how it happened or even why, but over the years a particular verse seemed to keep popping up no matter what devotional I read or what passage of scripture I read. And it eventually became my life verse or spiritual security blanket of sorts:
Isaiah 41:10 reads, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (emphasis mine, NLT)
Interesting fact. “Fear Not” is in the Bible 365 times! Yes, we need that reminder every “new” day! And we have to surround ourselves with scripture. Deuteronomy 6:8-9 reads, “Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (NLT)
Each year our world gets colder and darker. The worldwide unrest Covid created doesn’t seem to be subsiding anytime soon. And the rumor of potential wars keeps spreading.
Regardless, God wants you and me to Fear Not, and trust Him as we let go of whatever it is that is keeping up from yielding to the Holy Spirit 100%. God wants both–our hands, our one heart and our one mind so we can experience a peace and contentment no matter what cards the world deals us. What are the options? Why not drop it? Only you know what “it” is.
pictures courtesy of “Nelson & his Nikon”