10 ¶ Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 40:10 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
When my boys were little, they had a teen-aged baby sitter that we all adored. Her name was Shelly. She was very responsible, worked hard to keep our boys entertained, and was a lot of fun. The only point of contention we ever had with her was in the selection of videos she allowed our sons to watch. Spencer and Seth are almost grown now, but from time to time we’re still afraid we’ll have to get them some counseling.
Shelly’s first venture into unfortunate programming was in bringing along the videocassette of “Ole Yeller”. At first glance, that seems like a perfect choice. The boys were ecstatic about the prospect of watching a happy movie about the adventures of a boy and his faithful pet. Unfortunately, Shelly forgot that, at the end of “Ole Yeller,” the boy has to shoot his canine friend with a shotgun. My sons cried for three days.
So, the next time Shelly came to babysit, she didn’t bring any videos. Instead she let them watch programming on network TV. And the “Movie of the Week” that night happened to be a movie called “It” by Stephen King. To be honest, I’ve never seen this movie, so I can’t be sure I’m relaying the plot of the movie correctly. But from the clips I’ve seen and from listening to what others have said about it, the story line seems to revolve around a scary, evil clown that lives in the sewer. And I think he’s able to see you and talk to you through the plumbing when you go to the bathroom.
Shelly loved the movie. So in her thinking I guess she said, “Hey, a movie with clowns. Kids like clowns. What’s not to love?”
The next day Seth came into the living room and asked me if I would sit in the bathroom with him while he went “Number Two”. I asked him why I needed to do this. He said, “’Cause I need someone to ‘tect me. I need someone to ‘tect me from clowns.”
Long story short, I spent a portion of every day for the next year or so moving a kitchen chair into the bathroom and sitting with Seth while he finished up his morning constitutional. I accomplished a good deal of silent, sustained reading during this period of my life.
Although this is a funny story, I think we all know there’s nothing funny about fear. While as adults we realize that it isn’t rational to be worried about a killer clown who lives in the sewage, the truth is that even grown-ups have things that they’re afraid of. How blessed we are as children of God to have a Heavenly Father who understands our fears and keeps us in His protection.
Today’s Scripture lesson (at the top) says it all: Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” We have a Heavenly Father who takes our fears and burdens seriously. We only have to remember to put our trust in Him.
Time has passed, and Shelly is grown and married now. She’s expecting her first baby in February. We’re looking forward to returning the favor of babysitting her child for her. But I think my wife Susan and I are going to let Shelly’s baby watch “Barney and Friends”—instead of “Poltergeist”.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” (That’s him pictured at right with one of the babies in his congregation.) He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 21) and Seth (age 18) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where none of the residents are really that fond of clowns.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.