September 11, 2001 reminds me how fear changes the way I respond.
I was 16 and alone. It was the first time my parents left for a trip (they went to Aruba), and I was the only one at home. It was a Tuesday. Many of my friends were at school, but because I went to a private school, I was at home. This private school was a mix between homeschooling and private school, so we only went three days a week.
A friend, who was homeschooled, and I had plans to ride our bikes. When I went to her house, her dad told me that a plane had flown into a building in New York City.
At first I wasn’t concerned; this happened in New York City and we were a long way from New York City. It didn’t hit close to home until I learned that the President had closed the airlines. My parents were stuck.
I spent the rest of the day in front of the TV watching the news. The news scared me. I don’t remember what all was said, but I do remember what my imagination created.
We were going to war tomorrow. I would have to survive bombs going off around me without the protection of my parents. I knew I wouldn’t survive. I didn’t know how to shoot a gun. I didn’t know how to get food. My imagination wasn’t my friend.
But as you know, that is not what happened. I lived with my neighbors until my sister, who was living in Wyoming, was able to get to my house. And my parents were able to fly home sooner than we expected.
But now, I remember this situation whenever my imagination takes me to the worst case situation. Most of the time, my imagination is worse than the reality. My guess is you have experienced this, too.
Maybe this is why Jesus told us “So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own” (Mathew 6:34)
Often, this is difficult (but not impossible).
Paul tells us “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
When we take every thought captive and focus on the truth, God will replace our fear with His Presence and His peace.
So let’s be like David and pray, “I want to do what pleases you, my God. Your law dominates my thoughts” (Psalms 40:8).