Fear can be a savage beast. It makes us sick, paralyses our progress, and eats our hope. In short, fear often plays the role of the big bad wolf.
I’m not talking about the kind of fear that speaks caution to us in potentially dangerous situations. To me such a voice represents reason. Caution and our conscience telling us to be watchful, careful, or move into action to escape a danger can be a healthy thing and can literally save our lives and prevent harm. This often works from learned pain experiences—think of touching a hot stove. Fear and pain have important roles. We were given emotions for a reason. The problem comes when some grow out of proportion and take on the role of devourer.
Have you watched the movie Inside Out by Disney/Pixar studios? I have and loved it. The story pointed out a fact: all emotions serve a purpose. Ridding our life of the more unpleasant ones, like sadness or even fear, can cause problems and keep us from growing in character. I can testify—sadness has opened my heart up and brought me more wisdom than happiness.
The fear which waits to devour us like a hungry wolf comes from not the preservation of life but the destruction of it. God’s message of “Do not be afraid” repeats throughout the Bible more than almost any other. As our maker, God knows we are prone to fear. Poor little Much Afraid from Hannah Whitall Smith’s book, Hind’s Feet on High Places, comes to mind when I picture a down-trodden person incapacitated by fear. The story is an allegory to how we can trust God in the midst of frightening circumstances.
With this present health crisis, I would urge you to remember who holds all things. Picture a cataclysmic event so devastating that the mountains would tumble and the earth crumble as if they were nothing more than Lincoln Logs. Even in this, God tells us not to fear.
Long ago I trusted God with my life. He holds the span of it in his hands. I can honestly say—I hold no fear when it comes to the newest virus threatening mankind. My todays and tomorrows are numbered exactly as they should be. In this I rest. The fact that an illness could come and wipe me out in a manner of days doesn’t phase me. I’m more afraid of what I live with every single day: MS.
March is national MS awareness month. Here’s MS in a nutshell: anything that the nerves control can go awry. When a person has MS, their body’s own white blood cells attack the nerve coverings, thinking they are an enemy to be destroyed. When the cells break through the myelin sheath, electrical shortages occur and bodily functions and motion don’t work in varying degrees of disability. MS also effects individuals differently, making it more difficult to diagnosis and treat.
Although MS waged war behind the scenes in my life for some time, I woke up one morning in 2014 instantly experiencing the results. It was terrifying. In a manner of days, a foreign numbness, tightness, and dizziness took over. I felt like my body had been invaded. I’ve seen ups and downs since then. Currently, I am on a gradual downward trend that will continue until my body gives up.
What scares me is that I could wake up with God-knows-what tomorrow in this war. Every night I go to bed and the Big Bad Wolf tempts me to be afraid of what the dawn may bring. Every. Single. Day.
However, I have learned to be brave, trust God, and rest in peace knowing that He is larger than my fear.
I hope you can do the same.
LEARN MORE: visit the National Multiple Sclerosis website.
P.S. Did you know I wrote a novel, Blue Moon, with a character who has MS? I paralleled many of the character’s symptoms and struggles after my own.