I don’t promote it, but I know that it is the desire of every fourteen-year-old boy to join his friends in defying his fears and conquering the Haunted House this time of year. Somehow it makes them feel brave and strong if they can deny their fears and live to tell about it. I let me son go with his friends.
It was interesting to hear about his experience the next day. Only one dad waswilling to give into the boys pleas to be taken to this place that required awhole evening devoted to them. I assumed the dad would be waiting in the car,or at most eating a hot dog while he waited on the boys to fulfill their aspiration.Not only was this dad the one who was willing to drive them the distance, andin the end I found out pay an extra fee per boy to get the fast pass, but hewas also forced to be the one who led the way through the Haunted Houses theyvisited. These brave fourteen-year-old boys were made braver when they knew thedad was going first.
I immediately thought of Psalms 23:4: Even though I walk through the valleyof the shadow of death, I will fear not evil, for you are with me; your rod andyour staff, they comfort me. The reason the boys were not afraid was thatthey had sent the dad in first. They knew he was right there with them. His presencewas a comfort to them.
We need God’s presence to comfort us in all our fears. Sometimes it canfeel like we are walking into a haunted house against our will. We walk throughdark and creepy experiences and it feels like things jump out and grab us whenwe least expect it. There is suffering in each of our lives. When we walk thosedark paths, the only way not to be afraid is to remember who is with us.
Let’s face it; in the valley of the shadow of death, it is natural to feelafraid. I was even afraid to let my son go to a haunted house. I was afraid ofthe people he would be associating with. I was afraid that he would be too frightened.I was afraid that he could be influenced by evil. It doesn’t matter whatfears we are facing, the comfort comes from the same source. It is the presenceof our Father. He will answer our call even if the Haunted House we are walkingthrough is one we entered of our own volition. Most of us don’t chooseto walk through the valley of the shadow of death. For most of us our fears developfrom someone else’s evil choices, or from the realities of living in afallen world that contains death, sickness, hurt and heartache. We all need thesame remedy for our fears. We need to sense God’s presence in our lives.We need to remember that even though we are walking in the most horrible placewe could ever be, we are not alone.
Just like those boys, when you know that you are not alone, you don’t feelso afraid. What is the valley of the shadow of death that you are walking throughright now? When have you walked there in the past? What can you do in order notto be afraid?