The Fear of Change
By Rosemary Flaaten –
Imagine a crazy man running around your neighborhood naked, screaming obscenities and breaking free of all attempts to restrain and confine him. Initially this would seem horrific but over time his lunacy might became a normal part of your community fabric.
One day Jesus, who has become known for healing even the worst malady, came into a town and was met by their village lunatic. Rather than brushing him aside, Jesus stopped and confronted him. He didn’t ridicule but He did confront the source of this man’s problem. In doing so, the evil spirits that had strangled this man’s humanity were thrust into a herd of pigs who promptly threw themselves into the sea. It is no surprise that the town was abuzz. As the news traveled at lightning speed, people came out of their homes to check it out for themselves. The pigs that had drowned in the sea below the cliff were there for all to see, but what was even more astounding was that their village lunatic was dressed and sitting peacefully at the feet of Jesus.
What do you think would be your response to this event if it had happened in your community? Would you be intrigued, thankful or afraid? The townspeople in this biblical account may have experienced all of these emotions but the one that is noted is that they were afraid. Why would fear be the paramount emotion in this situation?
I believe the answer lies in our fear of change. Even abnormalities are comforting when we become used to them. The thought of having life suddenly turned upside down can cause many of us to experience anxiety, even if the change is for the better. I recently spoke to a woman named Betty who worked in an emotionally abusive environment but when given the opportunity to move into another department, struggled with the fear of the unknown. I was saddened to learn that she had chosen to remain in the unhealthy milieu because she feared moving into the unknown.
Just as the townspeople ran Jesus out of town because they were overcome with fear, I wonder how often we flee the presence of God because we fear the change that may be dawning. Have we withdrawn from intimacy with our sacred Lover because it is getting too personal and we fear having to make changes to the way we are accustomed to living?
The only way to truly counteract fear in our lives is to replace it with trust. If the townspeople had trusted that Jesus had come to offer them life in its fullest and that He had everyone’s best interest at heart, would they have embraced this Miracle Worker instead of banishing Him? If Betty had sought after God’s will and had trusted that He was providing her a way out of the abusive workplace, would she have moved through the door that God had opened for her? If we truly trust that God loves us just as we are, would we allow His loving embrace and His extravagant love for us to seep into the core of our being and change our response to Him? Perfect love drives out fear. May our hearts be open to being filled to overflowing with the perfect love of Jesus. In that place, there will be no lunatics, abusers or Lovers to fear.
QUOTE: “Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learn here.” (Unknown)
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1John 4:18 NIV).
Today’s Devotional is by Rosemary Flaaten. Her successful book, A Woman and Her Relationships helps women process their outside-of-work relationships, so now she’s delving into these 9-5 relationships in A Woman and Her Workplace. Her Relationships book won The Word Guild Award, which is Canada’s top Christian literary honor. A dynamic speaker—Rosemary challenges women of all professions to view their work as a calling and their workplaces as opportunities to live out Christ’s love. Rosemary lives with her husband and three children in Calgary, Canada.