What I pondered Wednesday #4

Nature guide in Costa Rica
Since I'm leaving for Atlanta on Thursday, Bible study was moved to last night. One of the other members of the group asked if she could share something with us. While I thoroughly enjoyed the entire sharing, one line stood out to me:
"Fear is the belief that God has abandoned us."
I've never heard fear defined that way. Honestly I don't know how I would define fear before last night. I just know that I wouldn't define it like that.

Think about your fears for a minute. What are you truly afraid of? Fear falls on a spectrum, ranging from the simplest to the most profound. I think the spectrum is best explained through a little Harry Potter analogy. In the books, there are these creatures called boggarts. When the witches and wizards face a boggart, it transforms itself into something their afraid of. During a Defense Against the Dark Arts class, the professor makes the students face a boggart. What repels a boggart? Laughter. So the students line up and one by one face the boggart. Ron's experience with the boggart represents one end of the spectrum of fear. When Ron steps up to the cabinet where the boggart is kept, the boggart transforms itself into a giant spider. Using his imagination, Ron throws some roller skates on the "spider" and it struggles to stand. All of the students laugh hysterically and the boggart is defeated. Harry's experience with the boggart represents the opposite end of the spectrum. When Harry faces the boggart it transforms itself into the epitome of fear throughout the series: a dementor. Instead of transforming it into something silly, Harry essentially passes out. Professor Lupin is forced to step in and defeat the boggart for him. Later when discussing the incident with Lupin, Harry asks why the boggart transformed itself into a dementor. Lupin explains that what Harry fears most is fear itself.

Let's start with Ron. We all have these sorts of fears. Like Ron, I fear spiders. My mom fears being attacked from behind while washing her face. These are fears we can conquer on our own, just as Ron conquered the boggart on his own. These fears don't keep us from excelling in school, following His will for us or making friends. They influence our daily lives but not in an extreme way. We face them and laugh them off, moving on with our days after they passed.

The Ron fears are still rooted in the belief that God has abandoned us. When a spider approaches me, I'm suddenly on my own. In a way we feel that God won't protect us from spiders or boogeymen in mirrors. We don't often think of these fears that way. But if we truly believe that God has never abandoned us, why should we fear spiders or snakes or boogeymen in mirrors? We have nothing to fear. Not even spiders.

At the other end of the spectrum we have the Harry fears. We cannot conquer these fears on our own. We need a Lupin to conquer them for us. My personal Harry fear is a fear of lack: I am not enough, what I do is not good enough, etc. These sorts of fears pervade every aspect of our lives. My fear of lack transformed itself into fear of rejection; I would hide from social situations for fear that others would perceive me as being deficient. It also held me back in school, transforming into a fear of failure. Just like the boggart caused Harry to pass out, these fears knock us down and keep us there. Suddenly God is not there anymore. All of the pressure falls on us to face our fears. When I step into a social situation, Christ is not with me. He's abandoned me so I must prove myself to my peers. I have to handle this on my own. Like with the Ron fears, if we truly believed He was there in these moments these fears would not affect us. His love would drive out our fear.

Thankfully every single person has a Lupin standing ready to help them. Our Lupin is Christ. We all know that perfect love drives out all fear. Christ is perfect love. There is no love more perfect than Christ. He already loves us. Nothing we do makes Him love us. Instead, all that is necessary is that we open ourselves to that love and allow Him to step in between us and our boggart. When He does, our fear is cast out and we can move forward into the life He intends for us. Those fears no longer stop us. His love will soothe us and remove that pressure. No longer has God abandoned us. Instead, He is right there with us to face every boggart along our path.

1 comment:

  1. I totally loved this post! And the HP analogy was great!

    I saw you were going back to GA on Thursday. Are you staying there all summer? We are going back to GA next week! Max got an internship with the GA Court of Appeals, so we'll be there until August! If we happen to be there at the same time, we need to do coffee!