Have you ever been scared? Like really scared? Like, taste-the-bile-in-your-throat-about-to-puke-scared? I can say that, up until last Monday, I had never been that scared. I mean, I used to go out with my friends to creepy old cemeteries and try to be scared, but that is different. Last Monday I was not in control.
I was archery hunting for deer in Central Oregon. I have been hunting quite a few times over the last 10 years. It is an art. It is a chess game between you and a very clever animal. The thing about archery is that you have to be very close to the animal before you can make a good, humane shot. I found a good spot to sit and wait for a buck the night before and left Monday morning before light to get to that spot to sit and quietly wait. While I sat, the sun was just beginning to peak over the mountains in the distance. It was in that strange predawn twilight that I saw fear for the first time. About twenty-five yards away from me was a Mountain Lion. It was moving through the rocks directly to where I was sitting. I saw him for a moment and then he disappeared into the sagebrush. My breath caught in my throat. The first words out of my mouth came in a whisper that was more like a gasp, “Oh God…” I was alone. Every story that I had ever heard about how a Mountain Lion can track and attack was running through my head. In an instant my whole world was changing. He could be on me in a moment. I had no gun, I had only my bow with an arrow ready, but if he came at me quickly I would be unable to draw my bow. So I did the only thing that I could think to do. I prayed a very short prayer, “Lord be with me.”
I was shaking and I was convinced that he was around every rock, tree, bush, but he never showed up again. Later that morning I did some investigating, after my courage returned to me, of course. It was a chance meeting. He probably never knew I was there, or if he did, I was not interesting enough to investigate. Whatever the case, I learned a little about fear.
It got me thinking: “How many people live there lives like this every day?” I tasted fear for a moment and I will probably never forget about it for the rest of my life. With all the news about domestic violence that is swirling around famous athletes in the last few weeks I have begun to think about the thousands of women and children who live with that kind of soul crushing fear day in and day out. Not to mention the thousands of young girls who are being trafficked through our country on a regular basis for a sex-trade that many are pretending doesn’t exist. Quite honestly, I don’t want to ever experience that again. And the thought that there are so many that live with this fear daily moves my heart.
The Believers, the ones who bear the name of Jesus are to be the ones who stand up to the darkness. I will say, however, that standing up to the darkness may not look like what we think it does. It sounds like a battle cry, but it may look more like a light in the window. Are you willing to extend a little light into the darkness? One candle can bring light to an entire room. The greatest comfort came to me on Monday when the sun finally peaked over the edge of the horizon. The light dispels the darkness. Maybe you can bring a little light to someone in the dark. God is love and love drives away fear.