Something about screaming always sets my nerves on a knife edge. A number of weeks ago, I wanted to take my two daughters out for some ice cream. So, we piled into the car and took off, and it was a nice ride just listening to my two daughters talk to each other, talk about different topics on little girls minds, and I especially enjoy listening to my youngest who always seems to carry a song in her heart when she is happy. So it was not a little disconcerting when, as I was getting out of the car, I began to hear one of my two daughters scream from the other side of the car as though mortally wounded.
My first reaction was to figure out who was hurt, and then identify, attack, and shred to pieces whatever was doing the hurting. I raced around the edge of the car as my oldest just looked on with wide eyes at her little sister who was still in the car screaming at the top of her little lungs with eyes closed. The door was not open so I assumed she had somehow caught her hand in the door. I jerked the door open, but that wasn't the case, and she was still screaming while I began to feel more desperate.
I screamed her name asking what was wrong, and she pointed at . . . nothing. I couldn't see anything in the direction of where she was pointing. She then got out the word "spider" and my eyes finally narrowed in on a spider so small it could have been mistaken for a grain of sand dangling from the car ceiling 6 to 8 inches in front of her face. However, to a little girl with an overabundance of fear, a spider dangling from the ceiling of the car within 6 or 8 inches of her face probably looked terrifyingly huge, and she obviously felt obliged to feel terrified because of it.
I, being the hero I am, promptly smashed the spider between my two hands, but my daughter was still screaming. I finally had to grab her by the shoulders and yell her name telling her I killed it and it was gone before she even began to calm down. As I got her out of the car, she latched onto me in a tight embrace still sniffling. As I carried her into the restaurant to get ice cream, I could feel her small frame still trembling with fear. Or was it me trembling from the adrenaline rush? I guess it was hard to tell.
All I know is, that as a parent of the male variety, the sound of my daughter screaming in what I interpreted as great pain flipped my switch, and I was ready for war. Finding out that, in fact, no one had been hurt, and the source of all the mayhem was a tiny little creature actually had me feeling more sorry for the creature whose life had to be sacrificed so my daughter would regain her sanity. I began thinking, how could such a small thing bring so much turmoil to what was a perfectly good day, and upset my daughter so much that she could not function in any other way than sheer panic?
As we sat down for ice cream, I called my wife telling her what happened, and she told me that I just had to be understanding, that the fears my daughter has toward spiders is very real to her, and that she just needs to be comforted. I have to admit the "ready for war" mentality seems to come way more naturally to me than the comforting part of me, so the little reminder didn't hurt. I let my daughter talk with her mom, and then we all, eventually, began to laugh a little about what happened.
I was reminded in those moments by the last few words in Hebrews 13:5 that say, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Too often, I think, we leave God in much the same position that I was left in regarding our own fears about what happens in this vapor we call life. Being too easily upset about things, fear arrests our lives and we become incapacitated, unable to think about anything else other than whatever worry, doubt, or fear consumes us at that moment. God tries to remind us He is there and we have nothing to fear, but confronted with our own fears face-to-face, we leave God the task of swiping away the small things, and trying to comfort an irrational state of mind.
Whenever fear tries to take hold in my life in some fashion, I remind myself of what someone once told me: "Life is an incurable disease, and we will all die from it some day." He was joking, but the point is still true. We will leave this world and everything in it behind one day, so why fear losing these things when the outcome is inevitable? When it all seems to be falling apart and you feel like you are losing everything, try to remember what is really important; that there is an eternity to be had, and the only "things" you can take with you are the people you have shared the Gospel of Christ with who have accepted the salvation of Jesus Christ. When it is all said and done, then one day you will see the only ones who had anything to fear are those who rejected Jesus Christ, while you had nothing to fear.