The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?
(Psalm 27:1, NLT)
The man stared at the woman before him.
“Where are you?” a familiar voice called from a distance.
He could not answer. Neither did she.
A new feeling welled up inside of him. His heart raced. His hands shook. Beads of perspiration formed on his forehead.
He wondered what he would call this feeling. After all, he had been given the task of naming things. First the animals. Then the woman. And then all kinds of different things. She helped him. Plants and other things they discovered, like oaks and daisies, creeks and pebbles. They had spent evenings together walking with their friend, discussing everything. Exploring the garden, talking about ideas. Like family. And friendship. Discussing feelings, naming them. Peace had been his favorite. And joy. Love.
And now, here was a new feeling. He did not like it. He did not like the way it filled his heart. And filled her eyes.
Eve, he called her. Such a delight she had been. Until today. When she had spent time talking with that creature. He had been busy elsewhere. Trimming the fragrant rosebushes. Normally, she worked along side him. But today, today she had wandered off and he had found her by the trees.
Two trees stood at either end of a clearing in the center of their garden.
Beautiful trees. Filled with fruit.
One stood tall, its branches spread wide. The silver leaves shimmered in the sunlight as the breeze gently moved them. A soft lovely fragrance drifted from the leaves. Golden fruit filled the tree. But they had not yet ripened.
The other tree, not quite as tall as the other, with dark, spiky, green leaves, had branches heavy with dark red fruit.
Their friend had told them to stay clear of this tree. They had all kinds of fruit to eat in the garden, but this fruit was not for them.
Eve held one of the pieces of red fruit. So did he. Somehow, she had convinced him to take a bite.
And they did. Together.
The moment his teeth sank into the fruit’s tight skin, something heavy struck his heart. His thoughts became, he did not know how to describe them, dark, like the night sky. Usually he wanted to discuss new feelings with their friend. To understand them better. But not this time.
“Where are you?” the voice called again.
Their friend. He had never had to ask where they were in the past. He always showed up wherever they were in the garden.
He looked at the fruit in his hand. He let it drop to the ground. It landed with a thud.
What had they done?
He stepped back into the trees surrounding the clearing. The woman rushed over to join him. Her eyes were wide. They were still filled with the same thing that filled him.
They watched as their friend strode into the clearing. He stopped by the first tree. He took a deep breath. The man knew he was breathing the sweet fragrance it gave off. Like nothing else in the garden. Their friend slowly shook his head then turned and looked at the other tree. His gaze moved from the tree to where they stood, hidden.
He knew he knew. He knew all things. How could he not know this?
It would do no good to stay in the trees. He knew they were there.
“Where are you?” their friend asked a third time.
He stepped out into the clearing and replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”
There. He labeled the feeling.
Yes. Afraid. He was afraid.
Fear filled his entire being.
Filled the eyes of Eve.
He did not like this new feeling.
He wondered if it would ever go away.
And so fear entered our world.
Fear. I have written several times on fear and worry.
(Psalm 7 and Psalm 11)
It is definitely not a new concept, otherwise, the Psalmist from so long ago would not have written about it.
But it wasn’t there in the very beginning. Instead, entered the moment the man and woman took their eyes off their Lord and looked elsewhere.
When they lived in the perfect love of God, there was no room for fear, because love drives out all fear.
But when they stepped out of His love, fear found a place.
And it continues to find a place in our hearts today.
So what can we do?
We can consider where we look for hope, for light, for salvation, and for protection?
Do we look to the circumstances around us?
Do we hide because we feel naked, exposed, afraid?
Do we tremble because danger seems to lurk everywhere?
Or do we look to the Lord?
We need to trust Him who richly gives us all we need, who will always keep His promises.
(1 Timothy 6:17 and Hebrews 10:23)
We need to put our confidence in Him, knowing He will continue to rescue us. (2 Corinthians 1:10)
We need to lift our eyes to Him, knowing full well our help comes from Him alone. (Psalm 121:2)
God, You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! May I believe this and do this, always focusing on You rather than on what makes me afraid.
Grace & Peace