התקדמותו של צליין or reflections on a pilgrimage 4

Tsoro in Hausa. خوف in Arabic. Peur in French. φόβος in Greek. Miedo in Spanish. डर in Hindi. Takut in Indonesian. 恐れ in Japanese. Timor in Latin.  פַּחַד in Hebrew. ကြောက်ရွံ့သောစိတ် in Burmese.

Every language knows Fear. Why? Because every culture knows fear. Every person knows fear. Fear of hunger; fear of abandonment; fear of monsters – real or imaginary -however you define that word. Fear of known dangers; Fear of the unknown.

 

Terrorists and Jihadists. Our guide in Israel thanked us for getting past the fear that keeps many people from going to the Middle East. Just after he said that, as we were on a boat on the Sea of Galilee, he said he remembers watching missiles fly over this very water toward Golan Heights and Syria to the East. Sometimes fear is reasonable.

645DEB7D-2601-4E06-B1B6-C79447C50D9FSometimes your fears happen and sometimes they never manifest. If I had let fear dictate my traveling to Israel, I would never have gone and come back safely, as I did. If I would have let fear dictate my riding through a mud puddle the second time, or riding at all, I wouldn’t be scheduled for an MRI tomorrow.

So when should I listen to fear and when should I ignore it?

Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” Mark 5:36

There are too many “fear” verses in the Bible to list here, but on studying, the message becomes clear: Fear God but nothing else. He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. Fear of all else is worthless. 1 Jn. 4:18; 2 Tim. 1:7; Heb. 2:15.

U.S. residents are taught to fear. If we gave some people in power such control over us, we would fear Muslims for bombing us, Blacks for robbing us, Whites for cheating us, Mexicans for raping our daughters, and Russians for stealing our passwords. But Christians can’t live this way. Non-christians can’t live this way. Humans can’t live this way.

On my pilgrimage, I spoke with Azin, the Muslim girl from Iran (Pilgrimage I) and Ishmael the Muslim cabbie (Pilgrimage VIII). I asked both if they were interested in killing me because I am a white American Christian. They said no. I think they meant it.  Azin was more concerned with getting home to her family for her father’s funeral. I felt her pain. She explained that even her Iranian family has no grudge against the U.S. or Christians, so much as the government does, and misrepresents the citizens to the rest of the world. She and I did not fear one another, once we spoke.

Ishmael the cabbie and I recognized that we both have families to love and go home to. We agreed that if the other came to our country, or our home, to hurt that family, we would kill them. “THAT is the jihad,” he said.  He explained that from his viewpoint, the leaders and radicals of both sides act in perceived self defense, or defense of religion and principles, and the commoners reap the side-effects – in the form of fear.

I have some friends with cancer. It seems to me that fear suffocates hope just like cancer eats away at cells. I pray God releases them from the fear as well as the cancer.

We need to throw off this fear, of illness, of war, of death – but most importantly, of one another. It is eating the world up and causing us to die from the inside out, like cancer.

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Honestly, something tells me that if I had met this guy without his jihad flag in an airplane or a cab, he might have said the same things Azin or Ishmael did. And I would still ride, and I would still ask, if for no other reason than to humanize us both and take our thoughts away from our differences for a moment, if possible.

Christ said to His disciples:  “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.[a]Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?[b]And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

I would go back to Israel, given the chance, and I will enjoy life as long as I have it to enjoy. I will not be restrained by fear. I cannot afford it.

More reading on beating fear: beautybeyondbones.com. Living in fear.

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