One of my all time favorite “Peanuts” comic strips by Charles Schultz has Charlie Brown in the school nurse’s office. As he waits, he thinks, “So here I am about to see the school nurse.”
Then Charlie Brown wonders, “She’ll probably take my temperature and look at my throat …” Then he worries, “Maybe she’ll take a blood sample. I hope she doesn’t take a blood sample. Maybe she’ll just weigh me.”
And finally Charlie Brown agonizes, “If she mentions exploratory surgery, I’ll scream!”
I’m a lot like Charlie Brown. Most of us are, aren’t we? We often let fears run away with us. We live in an anxious age, and we’ve grown accustomed to borrowing trouble. We live on an edge more often than we live in peace and confidence.
What we need most in our lives is a little bit of confidence. Two words that resonate with all of us are fear and confidence. Both of these words are used in Psalm 27:3, “Though a host encamps against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise against me, yet I will be confident.”
When my father, John Safarik, passed away a little over 20 years ago, we were going through some of his military items from his service in World War II. I found Dad’s New Testament Bible. The little ribbon used to mark pages was left on Psalm 27. It’s a psalm that can easily apply to soldiers in combat.
This psalm, like many, reminds us of the confidence we find from faith in God. We need confidence to face our fears and our enemies. We never know when that might happen.
Back in 1984, in Mason, Tennessee, Louise DeGrafinried astounded the nation when she persuaded an escaped convict from a Tennessee prison to surrender. He came brandishing a gun and with the gun, he thought he was in control. He had surprised Nathan, Louise’s husband, and forced him inside at gunpoint.
Amazingly, Louise was not afraid of the gun. This short, grandmotherly woman told the prisoner to put down the gun while she fixed him some breakfast. Surprisingly, the prisoner did it. Then, this mild-mannered woman spoke to this young man about her faith in Jesus Christ and about how he could have a better life if he accepted Christ.
When the breakfast was prepared, they said grace together around the table, and Louise prayed for the young man. They ate breakfast together, and then a shocking thing happened; the young escapee telephoned the authorities. Before long he was on his way back to the Tennessee prison.
The young man thought his power and his security were in the gun. With the gun, he thought he was in control. But Louise trusted an ultimate authority, and by trusting in that authority she overcame her fears. She had a confidence for all seasons. She was able to stand up to that desperate and confused young man to offer the peace of Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Our Lord, just a little confidence is what we need. Strengthen us to face our fears and enemies. Amen
The Rev. Dan Safarik retired as a full-time pastor at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Lincoln and now serves part time at St. Mark’s UMC in Lincoln. Email him at email@example.com
The Rev. Dan Safarik serves St. Luke United Methodist Church in Lincoln. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org