“Daddy, why are you so afraid?” Those were the words of six-year old Adam as he held his daddy’s hand, walking along the south rim trail of Grand Canyon. My wife Linda and I just smiled. We were walking behind this young family with a baby in a stroller and a first grader. No handrail. No fence. No barrier between the trail and a 4,600 foot drop to the Colorado River below.

3DG_9075Young Adam didn’t understand why his mom was telling him to hang on tightly to daddy’s hand. He didn’t comprehend why he couldn’t just run out ahead of the rest of the family. He sensed dad and mom’s careful navigation along the trail. He heard their warnings. He saw that dad was walking on the side of the trail that was farthest from the edge. He thought dad was scared and afraid.

I’ve thought about that little life lesson quite a few times since June 21 when we were in Arizona while on our sabbatical. Maybe it has been the same for you. There have been times in my life when I thought my Father God was just being too cautious. Afraid. Why did He put these boundaries and restrictions around my life, my attitudes and my actions? What was He afraid of? What’s the big deal if I go ahead and do this or that? Isn’t God just being over-protective and too cautious?

Of course I know the answer now–just like Adam finally figured it out. By the time we reached the end of the south rim trail, Adam caught on. We smiled when we heard him verbalizing how safe he felt hanging on to his daddy’s hand. Linda and I just looked at each other and grinned when Adam started telling his father how happy he was to have his daddy to keep him from falling over the edge into the abyss.

It began with Adam thinking his dad was just a coward. It ended with Adam being filled with gratitude that his father was wise, strong and protective. I love the Psalms in the Bible. Psalm 91 starts out with these reassuring words:

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust him.” (v. 1-2).

JPG LR-8949The rest of Psalm 91 gives a bunch more descriptions and details as to how God wants to protect us from walking off a cliff. It describes God’s father heart for us as His children.

God only installs handrails and fences (commandments and “do nots” in the Scripture) to protect us. Not to stifle us. Not to hurt us. Not to hold us back. Not to make life miserable. But to ultimately give us life. To help us live life to the fullest. And, to protect us from destroying ourselves through bad choices and decisions.

Today, don’t forget whose hand you can hold on to and who you can turn to for help. Psalm 121 gives us this promise:

I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord Himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

 Have a safe day!  You are in good hands!

9 responses to Why Are You So Afraid?

  1. Barb DeSousa on September 20, 2014 at 9:03 PM Reply

    So true! I think many of us as parents have experienced this; and as adult we can appreciate what the Lord does for us every second of every day! 😀

  2. Carol Martin Yoder on September 20, 2014 at 12:31 PM Reply

    Thank you, Dennis. So glad l took time to read this! And so happy for your blessed sabbatical!

    . . . .and am l correct. . .you, l, (and Annabelle above?), share memories of that south rim from WMS choir tour?

    • Dennis Gingerich on September 20, 2014 at 9:21 PM Reply

      Yes Carol, we were there on WMS choir tour around 1970 or 1971.

  3. Annabelle Roth on September 19, 2014 at 11:22 AM Reply

    Thank you, Dennis. I needed this today. It brought back memories of our years in Somalia. I was struggling to adjust to many things, including having just sent my twelve year old daughter off to boarding school in another country knowing we would not see her again, from late August until Christmas. So hard. Since we were at sea level at the equator, adjusting to the hot sun/heat was another struggle. We learned that even the scattered shade of a thorn tree made the sun more bearable. One day during a very hard stretch of time, the Somali believer who was my language teacher brought me Psalm 121, emphasizing “the Lord is your shade.” Your posting reminded me again that I have come through many hard times before and with God’s help, we will again. Annabelle

  4. covenantheirs on September 19, 2014 at 10:17 AM Reply

    Right on the target with this devotional. And aren’t we thankful that God, our Father cares enough to protect us from falling, often from making the wrong choices in life. Abundant living in Christ is so much more than what we perceive at times. Thanks for sharing your insight through real life experiences.

  5. Micky Franklin on September 19, 2014 at 8:50 AM Reply

    So true, thank you for sharing! I had an experience like that years ago with my son Colt. I’ll tell you about it next time I see you. Amazing Trip & pics Awesome! So glad it was you & Linda who were blessed with it.

    • Dennis Gingerich on September 20, 2014 at 9:02 AM Reply

      Thank you Micky! Look forward to hearing your story!

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