Years ago, when my sister and I were about 8 and 5 years old (I am the oldest), my father invited us to go overnight camping with him. He had just purchased a piece of property adjacent to a state park close to Toccoa, Georgia and he would go up there from time to time to check things out. Our plan was to make a campfire, roast hotdogs and s’mores and then my sister and I would sleep in the back of our family Chrysler station wagon while my father was content to sleep in his sleeping bag out under the stars, returning home the next morning. My sister and I loved these adventures with my father; my mother was not an outdoor camping kind of person, so she was content to stay home with the dogs for company. The night was gorgeous, warm and the sky was filled with stars. We were happily filling our stomachs with hotdogs when my father casually mentioned the fact that bears roamed the woods during the summer months so we needed to be sure to pack our food away when we slept. Within seconds of my father mentioning bears, my sister and I were in the back of the station wagon and we refused to budge until we were headed home the next morning. Even when my father enticed us with s’mores, we refused to leave the safety of the back of our station wagon. Our fear was gripping and paralyzing.
There is fear swirling around us in the midst of this pandemic. When I go to the grocery store, I see it in people’s faces. And, I have to admit, I am fearful of what will happen when we can begin to phase back into some routine of public existence. Fear can be a good thing – it alerts us to possible danger and gives us a chance to prepare. But often fear can become gripping and paralyzing. Worry is akin to fear and grows out of fear. Both fester and grow in an environment of uncertainty and change.
Some thoughts about fear:
Often our adversary is not what we imagine it to be. Black bears roaming in North Georgia are actually timid and will not attack unless they perceive a threat. Most times they will not draw near to people unless they are looking for food. So, a little fear causes us to be smart and take precautions. Understanding lessens fear.
Dwelling on the past and worrying about the future will only rob you of the present’s joy. Stacy A. Padula
Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears. Rudyard Kipling
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. Corrie ten Boom
Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow. Swedish proverb.
When I think about all the biblical characters who confronted their fear and conquered it, David comes to mind. He was a young boy when he agreed to go out and face the giant Goliath in battle. He stepped onto the battle field alone, with only a sling shot and stones. “The giant in front of David was never bigger than the God inside of him.” His faith allowed him to confront a giant of a problem, believing that with God all things are possible. In the same way, the virus we face today is never bigger than the God who is with us.
Reverend debbie osterhoudt
I am very excited to join in the ministry at Peace Presbyterian Church as interim pastor! I graduated from Vanderbilt University and received my Master of Divinity from Columbia Seminary in Decatur, GA. Before serving at Peace Presbyterian, I served in Triangle area churches as pastor, associate pastor and interim pastor for 33 years. I have a passion for my ministry and study, travel, walking, sailing (which I learned from my father) and gardening.