"When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them…"
Dwight Lee Wolter
I always suspected that I might not have what it takes to be a good Christian. For starters, some of us were crucified upside down and mauled to death by lions for entertainment at the Coliseum. And this quote from Deuteronomy, well, scares me. I mean, come on! You go to war and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own and you are supposed to not be afraid? I have an irrepressible urge to quote Bob Dylan, "It ain't me, babe. No, no, no, it ain't me, babe."
My confession: Part of me is afraid of everything. I am afraid of anything with more than four legs. I am afraid of being left alone to babysit infant twins. I am afraid of my expectations of your expectations. I am afraid of not writing well enough to satisfy you, me or God. I am even somewhat afraid of love. There I said it.
Maybe, just maybe, God know this about me and is just fine with it. Maybe, just maybe God finds cowards like me especially useful. Maybe being afraid and willing to feel and admit it as I march out onto the field and see the horses, chariots and armies of injustice and cynical, self-serving supposed public servants is enough to make me stand my ground, knowing that there is no way to fight evil and come out of the battle unscathed.
I don't need God to deliver me from fear. I need God to be with me as we face it together. God wears my fear like a shawl draped over her shoulders. Knowing that, whether I fear not, fear much or fear little - I can find strength, even in fear, that is a part of, not apart from my purpose, my passion, and my path.
Thank you, Gracious God, for fear being one of my teachers.
Dwight Lee Wolter is the author of Forgiving Our Parents, Freedom Through Forgiving (a workbook), and Forgiving Our Grownup Children. He is pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York.