The Squirrel that Stared into My Eyes!

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, January 26, 2022

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Last week, while moving some crates of things that belong to one of our children, I had an encounter that I had not counted on. As I opened the door to the old shed that contains mostly stuff that is hardly worth the space it occupies, I heard a rustling sound. As I turned my attention in the direction of the noise I saw a furry tail and two wide open eyes looking intently straight at me. I am sure the squirrel was as startled as I was and we both were trying to determine our next best move. I could tell that the hyperactive rodent was contemplating making a lunge for the doorway, so I gave him plenty of room. I didn’t want that thing landing on top of my head! Fortunately he chose a different plan of escape and I was able to finish what I set out to do.

As I think about the surge of fear that that one pound fury animal caused me for a few seconds, I am reminded of another animal from my childhood that brought me a lot of fear. In the early days of my life, we lived in the house with my great-granddaddy. His wife died from a fire several years before I was born, but he still had some of her old clothing in a free standing cabinet in one of the bedrooms. As kids will do, we liked to look through it to see what was in there. Those old dresses were pretty interesting—she apparently liked fancy things. But there was one item that would always strike me with fear—a fox! It was one that ladies of that era wore around their necks for looks, perhaps as a status symbol. The mouth of the creature contained a clip to hold the ornament in place. I suppose my great-grandmother was proud of the thing, but as for me, I was horrified every time someone pulled it out of the cabinet. I do not know where that decorative fox went, but even though I was afraid of it as a child, I would be delighted if I had it today.

Even though the squirrel and the fox both brought fear to me at the time, looking back, the threat was not nearly as big as it seemed and there was no real immediate danger. That is how it is with many of the things we fear in life–most of the eventualities that we fret over never materialize. There are, obviously, things that we should be afraid of for our own good, but many of our fears are baseless.

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The Bible has a great deal to say about fear and It assures us that we can trust God to help us with the frightening events that we encounter. Fear puts a cloud over the peace that God wants to prevail in our lives, but the realization of His love for us drives fear from our hearts. We are reminded in Scripture that “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18, New International Version). As a child of God, even in the darkest seasons of life, we can take comfort in knowing that we need not fear because of the abiding presence of God. King David understood this well as he penned this truth: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

A stuffed fox might be a frightening sight to a child and a startled squirrel can make an old man’s pulse rate increase. But because of the great love and care of God for His children, we do not have to be bound by fear. So turn your fears over to Him and bask in the peace that only He can give.