This week, the national news was buzzing with a feature about a jogger who was chased by a cougar. He accidentallyran up on her cubs. The video records as he is backing up and the cougar is loping then lunging toward him.
During the whole four minutes of footage, we see the jogger responding to every movement the cougar made. The man yelled at her, waved his arms, and never turned his back to her. Clearly, he was focusing on his fear: the cougar. But, he was also filming. It seems there were two things he wanted: 1. to survive 2. to become a viral video star. Fortunately for him, both goals were achieved.
All along the road be he was jogging, there were the rocks. Big ones! Four minutes in, the guy finally picks up a big rock and throws it at the cougar, and the cougar leaves. Four minutes! The rocks were along the path the whole time.
We are like this too. We see our fears. We ruminate on them. We watch and worry, backing away with our eyes glued on them. We anticipate the very worst, the whole time sharing our anxieties when in fact, there are rocks beneath our feet. These rocks are waiting for us to pick them up.
Now, maybe you are thinking, "Yeah, but the rock might not work. It may not scare off the threat (metaphorically speaking). Maybe it will just make the threat worse." The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7. The rocks under our feet are prayer and thanksgiving. When we make the choice to pray and praise, we actually allow God to be in control. We let go of trying to survive or trying to become whatever we hope to become, and we let God guide our steps. When we do that, we stop surviving, and we start thriving.
I long for that. Don't you? I can assure you, it's not a pipe dream. Our relationship to God in Christ Jesus really can free us from fear and anxiety. As Jesus promised us, "If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32.
So beloved, if you are feeling the fear of the future, and watching it stalk you down the path of your day, pick up the rock of your salvation and throw it with all the weight of your prayer and thanksgiving. Be free!
-- Pastor Rebecca
Rector's Corner posts written by Pastor Rebecca.