I was driving on Market Street in Athens, Alabama, when a yellow cat pranced across the street in front of me. I slowed. The cat slowed too, and then with regal bearing continued its leisurely stroll across the street. When it got to the edge of the road, I hit the accelerator and went by, at which point the cat bolted in fear, took off like it was shot out of a canon, raced cross a yard and dove into some bushes on the far side. Hysterical. While in the middle of the road and in real danger of being smacked by a vehicle, the cat acted as if it could not care less. But when it made it to safety at the edge of the road, it suddenly became terrified of my car.
It reminded me of another time a cat crossed the road in front of me. Years ago, I was the passenger in a truck being driven by a brother in Christ. A black cat darted across the street in front of us. The brother hollered, “Whoa,” slammed on the brakes, did a U-turn and took a long detour. Looking back, his fear seems to me to be about as reasonable as that of the yellow cat in Athens.
Cats and men often fear things that pose little significant threat, while failing to show concern for real dangers. Lots of folks are more apprehensive about their favorite ball team losing, or their favorite NASCAR driver wrecking, than they are about losing their souls. Some are more concerned about getting wrinkles or the color of their hair than they are about living life in the beauty of holiness. Some care more about who wins an election than they do about being elect of God, called to be saints. We worry about how the acts of evil men and terrorists might impact our lives on earth, but give precious little thought to how our own actions will impact our lives for eternity. To be sure, there are things that men should fear, but they seldom are the things that men do fear. “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
For those who have learned to trust God, there is little in this life to be afraid of. The Scriptures are clear:
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2).
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident.” (Psalm 27:1-3)
“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)
“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Friends and brethren, let us love what we should love, hate what we should hate, and fear only what we should fear. God’s children are creatures of courage, not ‘fraidy cats.