"Fear is the most tolerated sin in the church," Keith Tucci boldly declared.
Well, that statement stirred my heart. And reminded me of a story.
Once upon a time, I guess it was around 1978 or so, a pretty little thing from small town USA married a fine young man from Long Island. Early in their marriage her husband, quite familiar with New York City, decides that a quick trip to Manhattan for a Broadway show would be a fun adventure. How exciting! And a musical show, too!
Now, she had seen these streets once before as a ten year old girl vacationing with her family, but that was far away and long ago. Her only knowledge of them now is what she reads in the paper or sees in the cop shows on TV. She can't wait to experience them first hand with her dashing prince as guide!
Off they go! Over bridges, through tunnels. The sights, the sounds! At last, the island of Manhattan!
The first thing on their agenda is the purchase of tickets at the "two-fers" stand, a booth in Times Square selling admission to that day's performances at half-price. Two or three times around the block confirms a common dilemma - no parking spots.
He quickly pulls over, saying, "You get out here and get in line. I'll drive around until I find a spot and meet you at the booth." Hurriedly, hoping to time this maneuver with the light just ahead, he rushes her out of the door as she questioningly sputters unintelligible syllables. The door closes, he pulls away and disappears into traffic with no answer.
He's gone. Panic floods her as she instantly recalls every news story about the dangers of New York City streets. The vast crowd presses her as she moves one step from the curb, suspiciously eying each person around her. Glancing beyond the faces, she realizes she is unsure of the location of the booth. How will he find her? Is she possibly safe here? Will she ever see him again?
Paralyzed and unable to move, a mass of confused emotion overtakes her - anger, hurt, and deep fear. "Oh, Lord! What do I do? What do I do?" She knows she must quiet her soul and look to Him, to Jesus. Almost immediately she realizes a lesson is here for her to learn: fear is a disabler. Her commitment had been to serve Him wherever He sent her. Her promise was to be a helpmeet to her husband. Fear is keeping her from fulfilling these things. And God has not given her a spirit of fear.
She repents and commits her service to Him once again. "God, help me. I do not want to be a slave to fear, but to You alone. I refuse to be subject to anything less than your Holy Spirit. Please help me."The end of that story was simple. She found her way to the line where her husband soon joined her, apologizing profusely for having left her in such unfamiliar surroundings.
But the lesson learned was invaluable, serving her well for many years. And the preacher was right. Fear is tolerated and ought not be. It is not from Him. We are to repent for accepting, and even worse, embracing fear. It prohibits, diminishes, and disables.
Yes, I recall that lesson learned long ago. My heart has been stirred. I repent for allowing fear to creep into my heart and mind. I will face tomorrow with all its challenges courageously. I am free to serve and go and do. All because of Him.