Fear can be paralyzing.
The realization that there is no one to trust, no one you can really count on, is unnerving. The sense of being on your own, with no guarantee that you can accomplish what you set out to do, can be alarming.
That’s the fear Cal, at two, had of the water.
It’s well-known that in Florida one of the top causes of death for children is drowning. Parents often get their children swimming lessons early to acclimate them to the water, to learn what to do if they should fall in.
They learn to turn on their backs and float.
Cal’s folks knew it was time he learned, but he was terrified of the water. He cried when they took him for his lessons, tensing up, holding on to the instructor with the grip of Iron Man.
As the lessons progressed, the screaming didn’t lessen.
Fear doesn’t go away without the anticipation of hope. Hope doesn’t happen without the trust and assurance that things will improve.
Cal’s folks would try to get him to jump to them in the pool. He’d put his feet in, and that was as far as he would go. They’d hold him in the water, but fear still held the little guy captive. The water, in his mind, wasn’t safe.
The lessons and screaming continued. He learned how to turn on his back and float, all while expressing his dislike. He mastered how to pull himself out of the pool, tears mingling with pool water.
But something happened a few days ago. Cal hit a tipping point in his thinking. He leaped into the water to his mom.
She caught him. She’d told him over and over she’d always catch him. His fear kept him from fully trusting his parents. When he finally understood that they’d always be there for him, he began leaping off the side of the pool like a pro.
He learned to trust those who love him.
Often our hesitancy to believe in Almighty God is that we don’t trust Him to be who He says He is. We can’t see Him or touch Him. Surely that makes it impossible to fully trust him.
It’s why Jesus came. To show God in the flesh so we would learn to trust Him. To tell us of His unconditional love; to prove it by dying in our place. He chooses to love us, even when we don’t respond to that passion.
Living in a world where people have free will, bad things happen. Nothing and no one is perfect. It’s easy to blame God for all the bad because, after all, if He is really good, bad things wouldn’t happen, right?
Wrong. Bad things happen because He allows us to choose our own way; our choices don’t always reflect good thinking.
Fear comes because we don’t know Him; we believe lies that He’s out to get us, to destroy our happiness, to take away our fun.
Spending time with Him, learning how loving He is, will cause fear to disappear.
We need to choose to trust Him. That’s not a leap of faith so much as falling into the arms of a loving Father.
And He does promise to catch us. Every time.