A colleague of mine many years ago recommended a book to me called “The Gift of Fear.” Now there’s an oxymoron. Rather difficult to ever see “fear” as a gift, right? Personally, that’s something I seek to avoid, not embrace. Yet the author went on to explain via research and numerous examples where fear actually serves to keep us safe from harm. What to avoid or how to proceed with caution. By the time I made it to the end, he had me convinced, it did make sense. Fear is a motivator. It makes us gravitate toward action and, generally, that’s a good thing. Likely the Lord knew that when he was in the designing process. There’s a connection between fear and wisdom, fear and humility, fear and learning.
In my days of bachelorhood and early marriage years, there are a couple of appointments with fear that readily come to mind. The first is when I proposed to my wonderful wife to be, Marian, and the second is when Marian was expecting our first daughter Melanie. The first tale here needs to be saved for another day and Marian is the far better story-teller on that front. But the second episode, the arrival of our first daughter, is the second memory of fear. Fear that has served as a gift to me. The fear of becoming a “dad” with the responsibility for raising another human being struck me as being quite daunting. What role am I to play? Can we afford this? How will I handle the unexpected? What about discipline, education, college, etc., etc., etc.? The list of questions seemed to keep coming with no end in sight. It was a time for anxiety to peek, knowing that as the “head of the home” this REALLY IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, DAD. YIKES! My mind kept questioning me on whether or not I would be up to the task?
This time of high anxiety led me to seek for wisdom on how I was going to handle this whole new responsibility that I would be taking on. And this wasn’t just a responsibility for a week, or a month, or a year but actually a life time; with the first 20 years being the most critical. The mission was just beginning and “shooting from the hip” (my regular course of action!) didn’t strike me as a very viable strategy that was going to work well nor ease my fear. God, however, has a plan and that begins with Philippians 4:6-7. When anxiety strikes, He instructs that we’re to take it to the Lord in prayer. So that’s where I started, sending out a SOS message for assistance. God answered quickly in reducing my fear over this new chapter in my life by assuring me that He would be with me and He also provided a verse while reading the Scriptures. Psalm 112:1-2 – “Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” (NIV) My responsibility as a Dad begins with my walk with God and a delight for His word. When Dad follows God’s plan, God brings blessing upon his children. Quite a promise! Just the word I needed at that time in my life. I had a plan.