This is a post by Peter Knatt.
Both the buddleia and the lavender are in full bloom in the garden right now. I have seen several different species of butterflies drinking the nectar from the buddleia. Some are delicate pale blue ones, some dark brown but beautifully marked whilst the plain old cabbage white butterfly makes a regular appearance. The bees meantime are taking full advantage of the sunshine to feed on the profusion of lavender bushes planted along the edge of the front garden. Last evening as I put the waste bin out for collection in the morning one of those bees stung me on the hand. I understand why, of course. He was afraid of this large shape that intruded into his space.
Fear is a natural and a very powerful emotion which affects us all in some way or another, whether it is the fear of flying, or fear of spiders, or as in my case, fear of heights (or confined spaces). Of course fear can have a much larger impact on our lives, fear of the consequences of illness or indeed of dying, perhaps. And then there is the fear, real or imagined of other people. They may speak a different language, have different cultural practices, or are different in some way. You get the idea. Sometimes those people have—or think they have—power over us by virtue of their money or political status, or simply because they can shout the loudest.
Last week in my blog we spoke of the need to show God to the world through our lives and actions, which we agreed was a challenge. That challenge becomes even greater when we consider Jesus’ commands set out in Luke 6:32-33:
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even those who do not believe love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even those who do not believe do that.
How then can we love those who instil fear into our hearts?
The Old Testament gives countless examples of the fear that the Israelites faced throughout their history. To give just one example, they feared greatly crossing the Jordan. Yes, it was the land which God had promised them but they would have to enter it without Moses who had been a strong leader to them for the last forty years of wandering in the desert. And there were hostile and well-armed tribes that they would have to overcome. Before he died Moses said to them:
Be strong and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you. (Deut. 31:6)
In these times we need to remember Psalm 34:4 – “I sought the Lord’s help; he answered me and set me free from all my fears.” It is that truth to which we must hold firm. In God’s name and with him at our side we can overcome all fear.
Peter Knatt is a 75 year old father and grandfather living in England who was baptized and confirmed in the Anglican tradition many, many years ago. He finds much spiritual inspiration and comfort in his garden. Read more of his garden reflections at his blog, Reflections in the Water.
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