Did you know that the fastest growing species of bamboo can grow up to 35 inches per day? Yep…nearly three meters in one single day. Due to its rapid and invasive growth, it can get wildly out of control very quickly if it isn’t reigned in and grown with caution.
Bamboo and fear are a lot alike.
The quick growth rates. The corrosive nature. The potential for destruction.
Those bamboo shoots of fear hit me hard sometimes. I can’t think about my situation too much or else it’ll take over every ounce of joy in my heart. Most of the time, I do a pretty good job of it; but, some days, it’s a tidal wave that I see coming and can’t stop no matter how hard I try. The fear of my life can get intense if I let it.
I’m 28 years old; I shouldn’t be worried about my body starving itself to death. All I did was eat one piddlin’ little somethin’ and it ruined my digestive system; why? Why did it have to happen to me? The medicine keeping me alive is new to the market – what happens if it quits working? What will happen to Erin and my family if something happens to me?
Those are the bamboo shoots of fear I have to reign in before they get out of control.
I don’t like being fearful. Until this year, I was truly pretty fearless. Skydiving on a whim? With a smile on my face. Parasailing over the open ocean? Bring it. Standing on nothing but glass 100-plus floors over Chicago’s skyline? Umm, is that even a question? I never saw myself as invincible – I just didn’t live my life with fear involved.
So this “being scared” thing is new to me. I sometimes don’t know what to do with it. And that’s why I’ve really dug into scripture the last few months regarding fear:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” – Psalm 56:3-4
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25-34
God tells me over and over and over again not to worry, not to be scared. The same being who shut lions’ mouths when Daniel was in their den – the same one who helped David overcome Goliath – the same one who saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the hottest furnace – the same one who built our world – he’s telling me not to worry. Those tidal waves of fear are hard…until I think about sitting next to hungry lions for hours, waiting for them to eat me, or diving into a furnace that is literally meant to melt me.
Just like Daniel and Shadrach and Meshach and Abednego and David, I’m facing something that’s meant to devour me. But I also need to remember who’s on my side.
Once I do that, the bamboo-fear gets back under control.