The Fly, with Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis is credited with that command. However, we can come up with numerous ways that imperative is laid upon us. Unfortunately, being exposed to manufactured fear has become a way of life.
[A chicken who is scared, courtesy of Doug Savage]
Are we familiar with the slogan in news broadcasts, “If it bleeds, it leads”? It seems that directive has been bumped up a notch in the past couple of years. We are learning to fear each other. We are taught, like it or not, fear sells. Panic is profitable.
Still, there are reasons for fear that would seem to be more legitimate.
The psalm which is Isaiah 12 addresses a basic fear. The first two verses tell us,
“You will say in that day: I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, and you comforted me.
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.”
(Note: for “in that day,” see chapter 11 with the restoration of Israel.)
This is a fear pervading the psalmist’s outlook, one which is sourced in the God of all. Some might prefer language such as “pervading one’s life itself.” An elemental anger—an inherent indignation—welling up from the divine is felt.
However, there is a discovery of salvation, of freedom from fear. “I will trust and will not be afraid.” Trust and fear don’t do very well in the presence of the other. Fear is afraid of trust. To be honest, fear is afraid of many things!
We can even be afraid of ourselves.
I remember one day when I was in college and visiting home for the weekend. I was arguing with my mother—an argument, to my shame, that I started. She responded in an overly emotional manner, and it irritated me. I stormed up the stairs to go to my room, and with each step, I became angrier and angrier. I slammed the door to my room as hard as I could, causing a sound like a thunderclap.
I plopped down in my chair, shaking. It terrified me that I was capable of such rage. (And I don’t use that word lightly.) I was scared. Needless to say, I didn’t spend the night. I immediately got in my car and drove back to school. A couple of weeks later, we were reconciled.
Verse 3 seems instructive at this point. “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” With joy I drew water from the wells of salvation, though it didn’t happen that year! Remember the note about anger welling up? The fresh water from those wells quenches the fire of fury. Salvation brings the ultimate trust, and fear is banished.
Nevertheless, there is one thing of which it is prudent to be afraid, to be very afraid: teleporting with a fly as your companion.