Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” – Mark 5:36
I can remember as a child, crawling in bed at night and pulling the blankets up to my nose. Mom or dad would tuck me in, listen as I said my prayers, and then push the closet door shut. (For those writers who may read this – no, I wasn’t in the closet.) The closet door never latched when it was closed and over time it would edge open. However, to me, the reason that door would not latch was because something horrible lived in the darkness near the back of the closet.
I hated bedtime because of that silly closet. When the lights went out, my insides began to churn. My mother has often asked me why I was so frightened as a child. I know why, too. Mom and her best friend used to go to the morning matinee downtown. It was usually some Alfred Hitchcock flick or something with Ingrid Bergman. Just regular movies now called classics (well, I guess Hitchcock wasn’t so regular.)
I remember sitting in the seat next to my mom watching the screen. A woman walked toward a closet door that stood partially open. As the camera panned closer to the door, you could see the shadow of a man hanging from the door. Yep, the guy killed himself. Now, to the average Joe, that was just a murder movie, but to a little scrawny girl it was frightening. I’ve teased mom through the years that she warped me, but she claims “not guilty.” Regardless, it scared me silly. In fact, though I didn’t pull the covers up to my nose in college, I still went to bed at night with one eye cracked open.
One evening my grandmother and I were talking. She had her own unique ways about her, but tack was never one. She roared laughing when I told her I still slept light. “Do you think someone is going to get you?” she asked.
No was the only answer I had to offer. “Then do you know you are safe in your house.” she said continuing to press the issue.
“Of course I know I’m safe in my house.”
She leaned back in the chair and pointed her finger straight at my face. “If you know you’re safe, just believe it. Your problem is, you don’t believe what you know.”
Things suddenly cleared for me and I felt a little embarrassed to be in my teens and have my grandmother tease me about being afraid. I thought I’d outgrown it. Since that enlightening evening, I’ve never had a problem sleeping at night. My fears of the dreaded dark closet vanished. Still since that evening with my grandmother, I’ve been able to use her advice numerous times.
As Christians we often fall prey to senseless fears. We tend to worry and fret over things which we cannot control. We are very aware that God is with us, yet we have difficulty turning over our fears to Him. For some reason, we find it necessary to cling to the things that Christ says to release – we want to handle them ourselves. We are completely aware that God will handle our fears, still we refuse to believe that He will.
Jesus said it plainly to the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Just believe. It is easy for us to insist we trust God completely when in fact, we fail Him by not fully believing. My grandmother’s playful bantering drove home a serious point. We know God will care for us, however, we fail to believe what we know. When fear attacks me, whether it be health issues, children or anything else, I remember what Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” I’ve kept those words close to my heart ever since. These days, my closet holds nothing more than a mess and I do believe it will eventually be clean.
Prayer: God of all strength and wisdom, help us to believe what we know to be true.