Thursday, November 18, 2010

Homily 16: "...we all go into the dark..." (as preached by an orthodox rebel)

"...I fear my lord the king...." Daniel 1:10

We must not abide the doctrines of any false and foolish religion that tries to claim the unreality of either fear or its object. There are many frightful and beastly barricades set across the whole of life, and the fear they inspire is usually well deserved. The difference is in this: it is not about believing that your fears (or fearful things) don't exist; it is about believing that God does exist. The instant that we focus (for whatever reason) on the fears and/or their objects rather than on God, we have gone awry. Even if we are attempting to comfort our fellow man, simply denying the reality of their terrors within or the terrors without is a silly solution. It is the equivalent of telling them that the dark will go away if they simply close their eyes.

We do mankind a great disservice if we deny their fears and/or fearful things for the simple reason that denying the dark does nothing to get rid of it. Only light does that, and the good news of the Christian religion is that the light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness is powerless before it (John 1:5). Obviously, the only proper thing to do for those who are afraid of the very real dark is to point them to the very real light.

The servant of Nebuchadnezzar was genuinely afraid of a very real danger, and what did Daniel say to assuage him? Not, "Doubt your fears," but rather, "Prove thy servants," i.e., test the matter. Come and see the faithfulness of the almighty God (Num. 11:23, 23:19, & Mal. 3:10). This is not, nor is it ever, about blind faith. It is about seeing with your own eyes God work in the real world, about realizing the reality of God in the practical minutia of life. It does us no good to anyone (including ourselves) to deny the reality of fear and fearful things. The only good lies in claiming the reality of God and being strong in the real power of His real might.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2010

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