Oh, Deer! What to do With Fear
Last evening I took a post-sunset walk in the dark. As I walked down the road, I heard leaves rustling in the woods. There are tons of deer in our woods, so I assumed it was one of them and casually continued on.
Sure enough, a deer walked out of the woods onto the road behind me. I do not fear the numerous deer around us. They are fuzzy animals who eat my wife’s flowers. If anything, they should fear me, or at least my wife. I paused and looked at it. It looked at me. I continued walking.
For some reason this very large doe decided to follow me. At first it was funny, but it kept coming after me! Nervousness swept over me. My brain began thinking.
“Maybe it’s one of those crazy diseased deer and it’s going to attack me. I wonder how much it would hurt if she hit me.” I glanced around for a stick to defend myself just in case. I decided to keep walking with my head swiveled to keep an eye on my pursuer. She kept coming.
“OK deer, what are you doing?” I asked her. Surprisingly, she did not answer. My brain envisioned the injuries that would be sustained by a diseased deer throttling me in the dark.
I boldly decided to turn around and cross the road and head back toward home. The deer decided to cross the road right where I did! “Oh wow, this is getting weirder by the minute. I bet if there were some light I would see foam coming out of her mouth,” I thought.
Apparently the doe got bored with me at this point, and headed off into the woods.
I have no idea what that was about. I guess it was just heading my way, or was curious what a person was doing walking around in the dark.
It’s funny how quickly fear can consume a person. I’m used to deer being around. I have no fear of them. But when one starts acting a little weird, a guy gets a little insecure!
Fear can override conviction in an instant. Ask Peter!
Peter was confident he would stick with his Lord, even unto death (Matthew 26:35). But 35 verses later, Peter denied his Lord when people started acting “a little weird” (26:70).
Confidence is easy when we’re sitting in our comfortable chairs in our comfortable houses imagining scenarios where our great Bible wisdom will convert the lost with no problem. Then we start up an evangelistic conversation, only to have the person get “a little weird,” and fear shuts us down. “I better back out before this person begins foaming at the mouth!”
The great thing about Peter is that he came back. Here’s what Peter says in 1 Peter 3:14, “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.” How amazing is that!? What a transformation!
So, how does Peter suggest we not be afraid or troubled? When Peter denied Christ, he approached the situation with confidence in himself. He does not recommend that strategy! 1 Peter 3:15 gives Peter’s new strategy to avoid caving in fear before people, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”
Peter’s confidence is no longer in himself. Peter has sanctified the Lord God in his heart. That means the Lord has taken over his whole heart. He is fully dedicated to the Lord and no longer set on himself. This looks like meekness and fearing God. If we have a proper fear of God, we will fear nothing else. Peter has his head in the right place now.
If you are trusting in your own power, might, and wisdom: be afraid! But if you’re trusting in the power, might, and wisdom of God: watch out world!
Now I just need a way to confidently deal with diseased, stalker deer.
Pray for opportunities to stretch your faith.
Pray for confidence in the Lord, not in yourself or your abilities, to deal with what life throws at you.
Pray for a desire to sanctify the Lord God in your heart, to let Him reign with authority in your desires, passions, priorities, and pursuits.