An older gentleman approached me and took the sandwich I offered him. His face bore the familiar red scarring found among those who’d fallen asleep drunk during a Siberian winter. The gray, dull-eyed babushka limped forward for her sandwich. One by one, the older folks received their meager meals.
In the distance, two boys circled our group with seeming indifference. Their breath rose like smoke under Russia’s frigid conditions. The taller of the two picked up a vodka bottle from the rubble, tipped it forward, drained it then tossed it.
I asked my Russian pastor friend, “Why don’t those boys come eat?”
Pastor Yuri said, “They’re afraid.”
Trust is essential to developing an authentic relationship with another person. If we don’t trust others, we can laugh with them, eat with them, drink with them, and spend time with them. But we can’t let them get close enough to be genuine friends. And we certainly can’t develop any semblance of intimacy.
If I’m afraid, I won’t get close. Not to you. Not to God. Not to anyone.
Food is available.
But we’re tipping empty bottles for a single drop.
Because we’re afraid …
And we can’t trust …
So what makes us afraid?
Past Experience. Those two boys kept their distance for a reason. Something in their past taught them to remain wary around adults. The present pleasure of food couldn’t close the distance created by past painful experiences. They were hungry, but not desperately so.
Spiritual Dullness. My dog cringes if I take off my gloves. She cowers if I pick up my reading glasses.
She’s intelligent, playful, and sweet as she can be. But if I have something in my hand, she becomes skittish and wary. No matter what I say to calm her fears, she’s too dull to understand two things. She’s loved and she’s safe.
What then can we do to overcome our fear?
Admit we’re afraid. In Judges 7, Gideon prepares to lead Israel into a battle against the Midianites. God instructs Gideon to whittle down the army by asking, “Is anyone afraid?”
The Israelite soldiers had to acknowledge their fear. In fact, God encouraged them to do so in order to face their enemy.
Voicing our fear is like turning a light on. Suddenly those monsters under the bed aren’t so scary anymore.
Whenever I’ve spoken about my fears with Ellen (fear of failure, fear of lost dreams, fear of not living up to expectations), I’ve experienced an amazing thing—intimacy. She has accepted me, loved me, and encouraged me.
Embrace the truth. Jesus said, “… you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Fear may start with the truth (those two boys in a Siberian garbage dump knew some adults were dangerous) but it ends up believing a lie (no adult can be trusted, even ones offering hungry boys food).
I may start with the truth—I have failed—but I end up with a lie—I am worthless. If I embrace the lie, I fear facing God, my wife, and anyone else who gets close to me. And that’s painful.
I fear being found out.
I fear being fooled.
I fear being hurt.
Until I’m willing to admit my fear and embrace the truth, I remain distant and unknown to God and others. Or, rather, God remains distant and unknown to me.
I’m curious. Where does fear mess up your relationship with God and others? Where have you learned to trust God?
Jon Stolpe’s Love Works Wednesday Link Up Week – Trusting
Jer Monson’s The First Secret of Getting in Shape
Kari Scare’s Financial Fast 2013
Two men. Two eternal destinies.
One common hope.
A poignant and compelling portrayal of heaven and hell, with a powerful look at redemption from the perspective of both the lost…and the saved. Well done!–Susan May Warren, best-selling, award-winning author of You Don’t Know Me.
“Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes” was a compelling read for me. The vivid descriptions challenged and ignited my imagination. Tom skillfully laid out a clever story that caused me to think and made me want to read to the end.–Ron Fruit GM, WRCO Radio
Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes can be found at:
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