Years ago, I read a story about a woman who was afraid.
So fearful she was of the the dangers of the world that she decided to put bars and double locks on all of her windows and doors of her tiny house.
Once her house was secure, she spent her days and evenings watching the dreadful news and peeking out through the corner of a drawn shade every now and then, marking sure there was no one suspicious lurking.
Some time passed and she began to feel more relaxed inside her "safe house".
Friends and family were willing to deliver her groceries and necessities, so she rarely found a need to leave her house.
She made sure that every window and door were locked securely, especially before she turned in for bed.
But one night, a fire started. They thought it might have been from the end of a cigarette butt that she left in an ashtray in the living room. Perhaps there was just enough fire left to spark the brown dusty carpet.
She slept soundly until she smelled smoke and awoke coughing and and went into a panic. Stumbling through the smoke filled air, she desperately tried to open doors and windows but the sudden warm summer temperatures had caused all the doors locks to swell and jam against the bars and locks.
By the time the fireman arrived and were able to break through the layers of bars and locks, the blaze was out of control.
The safe house had become her prison and she perished in the fire.
I watch the news each day and I relate to this woman. I want to keep the danger out. I want to make sure that no one ever has a chance to harm me or my family.
But I fear that my attempt to keep any possible danger out will only serve to create a prison that I might not be able to find my way out of.
Healthy fear alerts us to life threatening situations.
It helps us to survive.
An unhealthy fear causes us to create prisons for ourselves with bars and locks that are difficult to break out of.
I am reminded of these verses-
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right .... And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”