In early childhood during the dark days of World War II, I decided that I was going to be a fighter pilot. At the age of 6, as I read novels about Dave Dawson and the RAF, the fact did not escape me that fighter pilots did not live long lives–30 years was a full lifetime. So, I expected to live 30 years.
At age 35, after a family tragedy, the Father called me to Jesus and I was saved. I had led a rebellious life until then, and no one knew that better than my dad. I was his eldest and his prodigal, and I don’t use the word “prodigal” loosely. No one was more surprised at my change than he.
While visiting my folks in the following year, I had just finished reading Jesus’s parable about the vineyard owner hiring workers and said to my dad, “Gee, I showed up at 5 pm and Jesus paid me a full wage.”
Rather firmly, my father replied, “Who says it’s 5pm? You have a long life ahead of you.”
Until then, I’d been thinking I had lived 5 years longer than my childhood expectation–and having attributed this to the Marines scrapping my orders to flight training because of my eyesight– I finally realized that I really didn’t know how long I’d live. But, I knew God the Father did.
Just one year later, I was working in Buenos Aires in the midst of the Argentine terrorist wars. The terrorists killed one businessman each day on his way to work. I changed hotels every day for the first 42 months.
As I walked from my hotel to my office early one morning, I took my usual security precaution of walking along the side of the street with slanted storefront windows. This way, I could check the reflections to see whether anyone was following me. When there were no more slanted windows ahead on my side of the street, but slanted windows on the other side, I would cross the street and continue on that side. While crossing the street that morning, I came to my senses and stopped in the middle (no traffic).
“Lord. Why am I doing this on my own? It’s your job to keep me alive.”
From that day on, I have not feared for my life–despite being in great danger on numerous occasions. If I discover myself in danger, I do whatever I can to mitigate the risk. But, the Lord is in absolute control of the outcome.
Are you a Christian, often enervated by fear? Does my above response sound strange to you? If it does, you should ask the Lord to take away your fear, and give you wisdom to deal with the circumstances he places you in. Here’s what he has to say to you, just as he does to me:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9