My friend traveled to Disney World this past winter with her family. Her nephew was just the right age to really absorb what such a vacation had to offer.
When my friend’s nephew encountered some scary-looking statues while waiting in line for the “Tower of Terror” attraction, he was nervous. He grabbed his dad’s hand and asked, “Those are fake, right?” His dad assured him that the statues were just statues—this really wasn’t some haunted hotel or a “twilight zone.” With that assurance, the boy became fearless. He thoroughly enjoyed the “Tower of Terror.”
The fears that we face in our real, non-Disney-World lives are anything but fake. Sin and evil are all-too-present realities in the world. But in some sense, the prayers I offer often have something in common with my friend’s nephew asking his dad, “Those are fake, right?” When I am reminded of the larger reality of God’s loving control, I can face the smaller realities of fear and evil in the world around me and within my own self.
I need to hear the words of Psalm 27: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”
So I ask God, “Are you in control?” This happens at many points along my faith journey because I am genuinely not sure of the answer. The chaos I face seems so powerful that I fear it may overwhelm me. When the psalmist cries out in confidence, “Whom shall I fear?” I want to reply, “I can think of a few things.”
Other times that same prayer is more of a calm request for a reminder. Then I feel my spiritual feet more firmly underneath me, and I can join my voice to the psalmist’s: “Whom shall I fear?”
But most often, I’m somewhere in the middle—too hesitant to walk boldly onto the roller coaster of life without first asking, “Lord, are you my light and my salvation?” I worship with other Christians because I need to ask these questions with the community of faith, and I need my sisters and brothers in Christ to help me remember the ways God answers my question.
The boy at Disney World could face “Terror” when he knew the greater reality: those scary statues were just plastic! Our fears are not fake, but we too can know a greater reality. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord, our light and salvation. Whom shall we fear?
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow. The same loving Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and every day. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.
—St. Francis de Sales