By Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Jeff Van Ness
Special to GUIDON
Within the span of a month, news agencies reported two incidents which demonstrate the dangers of humanity’s deadliest foe.
In April, a woman was driving and spotted a spider on the dashboard and went into a panic, crashing her car into a stone barrier. The accident totaled her car and injured her leg.
A month later, a man was traveling along when a spider jumped on his leg. He panicked as well. The driver lost control of his vehicle and rolled it down an embankment. He wrecked his car though he suffered no injuries.
So what’s my point? That spiders are killers? Of course not.
America only has two spiders that we need to worry about (the black widow and brown recluse) and you’re not likely to find them in your car.
The spiders these drivers saw were probably tiny jumping spiders which are harmless to humans – and about ten thousand times smaller.
No, spiders aren’t our foe. Fear is the problem and it can be our deadliest foe.
It was fear that made these sane human beings do the most irrational and life-threatening thing. While cruising down the road at 60 to 70 mph, they jumped from their seat and gave their full attention to something the size of a chocolate chip. Fear turned their reasoning powers to mush and nearly got them killed.
So, how does fear manipulate us and how should we manage it?
We manage it with faith.
Faith in God is the most rational response to everything we see around us. Faith in God makes perfect sense whenever we pause to count our blessings and view God’s faithfulness to us in the past.
Fear, however, loses sight of the facts. Fear tosses away reason.
The Bible points us to the fact that God cares for all his creatures and equips them all for survival and success (Matthew 6:25-33).
God will take care of us and asks us to concern ourselves with pursuing his kingdom and being in a right relationship with him.
Dear Father in heaven, teach me to panic less and to trust you more. Open my eyes to your presence and activity all around me. Open my eyes to your love for me and for all mankind.
(Editor’s note: Van Ness is the deputy garrison chaplain.)