Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The only thing to fear ...

When I took up walking again earlier this year, it was with some trepidation.  Because, you know, there was that one time two years ago that I saw a snake, and even though it lay right in the middle of the path and pretended to be dead ... it beset me with a case of irrational willies that would not let go.

It was time to start walking again, though, so on one of my first oh-good-grief-just-get-over-it-already forays, I asked God to keep all the snakes off these 22 acres.  With 171 million acres in the entire state of Texas, surely keeping 22 acres snake free is not a big deal.

I felt God's amusement.  

Try again, He said.  

I kept walking.  Okay, God ... how about - just don't let me see the snakes.  They can live here ... just don't let me see them.

 Again:  No.  There's another way to pray about this, I felt Him saying.

By now, I'm standing up on the creek bank, looking down into the mostly dry creek, except for a nice little pool under a tree.  And there are two simultaneous trains of thought running through my head:

                                    Okay, God ...                                      Well, I'm glad there's a little
                                                                                                water left in the creek.

                 It's silly to ask you to remove                               Look at that long tree branch 
         all the snakes off 22 acres.  I know.                             lying in the water.

               I know, it's pretty likely that I'll                             That branch has such a lovely,
              run across a snake at some point.                            graceful curve at the end.

         So, the greater miracle would be                                  
                   that even if I DO see a snake                                         WAIT.

                            Let me not FEAR it.                                Is that a SNAKE?

At that, the "tree branch" disappeared in a furious swish of muddy brown water, and I'm pretty sure God laughed while delighting in His own perfect timing ... and I didn't feel fear, I felt mirth.

Thus my prayer all summer has been, "Lord God, please help me not fear what I don't see ... and what I do see."  
I gave up the walking shoes that left my ankles feeling exposed for mud boots that come up to my knee, and if I need to dispatch a snake, I'm well prepared.  Wearing boots makes you swagger just a little bit, and having a plan evokes a sense of calm.

But honestly?  

It's the prayer that's made the most difference.  

I remember that prayer every single time I walk by that place on the creek bank.  I look down into the creek and expect a snake to be there, in all its graceful curvy-ness, and I remember the little joke God and I shared.  I thank Him for His kind and gentle grace in not letting me see more snakes thus far ... and I ask Him to help me not fear.

I recognize that the enemy really isn't the snake, it's the fear that takes over and keeps me from doing the things I want to do.  Fear can move in, take over, and before you know it you're making coffee, offering it your favorite chair, and staying home to keep it company.  That's when you count the cost.  And maybe you realize what you're missing is preferable to the company you're keeping ... and you go for a walk.

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

Post a Comment