First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

Paralyzed by fear.

October 1, 2015

    It happens to deer a lot; thus, the phrase, "Like a deer in the headlights look". Fear displaces the ability to function. Momentarily disconnecting thought from action can be deadly for deer in the middle of the road and mighty inconvenient for us in daily living.

    You know what I am talking about. You're driving at night and round a bend in the road to see the deer standing in the middle of the road. Researchers believe bright lights either blind or mesmerize the animal and it freezes for a moment. For those of us who have a hit a deer with our cars, we know our fear is probably triple that of the deer. Brakes get mashed; horns get blown, and muscles tense as a prayer is uttered, "HELP!!!"

    I shared life with a little lady yesterday at our community banquet and she admitted her overwhelming fear of the impending tropical storm/hurricane sweeping up the east coast.  Shame on you Joaquin!!  I'll call her Kathy (not her real name) and she lives in a flood plain area in our town. She recalled the horrors of Hurricane Agnes in 1972. She spoke as one who was still standing in the swirling waters 43 years ago. Her voice quivered as she spoke. I'm not an expert, but it sure looked like a form of PTSD.

    It's moments like these when hearts are twined together and words of hope are desperately needed. As we ate lunch, Kathy told me about her pets and how much she loves and cares for them. I sensed Kathy really needed to talk and so I listened.  Moments like this happen to me a lot. In years past, I would have said, "I will pray for you Kathy."  Things have changed for me. I value the time a person will invest into stopping what they are doing to pray with me.  So, in that busy and noisy fellowship hall, I asked Kathy if I could pray with her.  God's abiding spiritual presence is one force that overwhelms fear and as I said 'amen' Kathy seemed to relax if even for a brief time. We continued to talk and the strained lines previously marking her forehead were less visible.  

    There was a time in my past that offering to pray for somebody would have made my heart stop and blood turn cold (deer in the headlights look). The warm spirit of God courses through my veins and I seek to help those who struggle with life. I have been blessed so much that to do nothing would be a form of faith malpractice. Today, look for someone struggling with life and go make an investment in God's kingdom. Greet. Listen. Love. Pray. Encourage. Repeat.

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