First United Methodist Church

Wednesday Devotion: Fear

For the past week and a half, my family and I have been traveling together through the Rocky Mountains visiting three National Parks, hiking and spending over 30 hours of quality time in the car and small living spaces. Every year, we have prioritized taking our children on an adventure to show them part of our country that is full of God’s beauty. This trip was a success and we came back so thankful for this experience. While we were gone, you heard the beginning of our Summer Series, “Living Inside Out” and Pastor Philip and Pastor Leah told the Pentecost story and connected it back to our Core Memories. Over the next few weeks, we will be thinking about our Core Memories and how they are connected to Fear, Joy, Anger and Sadness.

I want you to think about a place you have been to or visited over your lifetime that brought about a visceral response like the emotions we will be talking about over the next few weeks. Have you felt Sadness over a place you visited that held such brokenness or history? I remember feeling that at the Holocaust Museum outside of Jerusalem two years ago. Have you felt fear while visiting a place that held such beauty? I felt this multiple times these past two weeks when my 6 and 4-year-old little explorers got a little too close to a trail edge or a rock face and I had to yank them back.  I have felt Joy many times while traveling and seeing new places around the world, especially when the people I loved most could experience it with me. The point is that we all have experiences that bring out emotions in us that are tied to our Core Memories and those stay with us forever.

God gave us emotions, they are a part of what makes us the Imago Dei, but often times our emotions can be confusing, off-balance, and hard to understand. This past Sunday, Pastor Philip talked about the story of Pentecost and how there was fear wrapped up in it, especially for the disciples. As you reflect on the story of the birth of the church, I want us to be thinking about a time that we experienced fear, but it made us stronger, more courageous, and more grateful to be alive. Maybe you are one that served in our armed forces or fought in a war. Having never served in the military I can only be thankful for those that have and I imagine that you have had many moments of fear and uncertainty because of that sacrifice. Maybe you felt fear in a new relationship, career change, or even walking back into life as it once was after the pandemic. Maybe you have fear, like Peter did, around your boldness of faith and trusting that the Holy Spirit would come through for you when you needed it the most. I want to encourage you if you are in the midst of that fear that God is with you. Fear can shut us down or spur us on. Fear can create walls or barriers, or fear can cause us to climb over those barriers to see what is on the other side. Fear, like in the story with the Apostle Peter pushed him to do more than he could ever have imagined. I hope you know that we worship a God that not only walks with us, but is open to hearing about our deepest fears and anxieties. Not only are we able and willing to share that with a Holy God, but we can rest in that sharing because God is a Loving Father.

My prayer for us over these next 4 weeks is that as we name the emotions that are unique to us, we will find a deeper comfort in who we are and who we have been called to be. Also, if you haven’t marked your calendars, join me and others from your church family this Sunday evening, June 12th at 5PM to watch Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out together at our Winter Park Campus in the Matthias Family Life Center! Click the link below to register today.