Have you ever been terrified? Not just scared, but genuinely terrified?
I know I have been scared from time to time, but I do not think I have ever been terrified. I can remember one time, probably the closet to being terrified that I ever was, I was doing a ride-along with a police officer in Wichita. I used to want to be in law enforcement! I was out one night with this officer, who was a friend, and he attempted to stop a car. The driver stopped, jumped out of the car and ran. He chased on foot, leaving me there in the squad car alone with two other individuals in the vehicle in front of us. No radio traffic stating I was there. It was dark, about midnight, and seemed very quiet. After a few minutes both individuals got out of the car, both very big males, and started to walk back to the police car. I was scared but did not have enough time to be terrified. I was alone. No way to defend myself. Just at that time other officers pulled up. They arrested the individuals and my officer friend showed back up with the girl who ran. Was I terrified? Perhaps, but I think just scared for a split second.
Terrified is a strong word. Even thinking about being terrified is, well, terrifying. If you have ever been terrified, you likely have some flashbacks, stress, or post-traumatic stress associated with it. In the second chapter of Luke, in Scripture, it tells us that there were angels who were out tending to their flock. An angel of the Lord appeared, and it says, ‘they were terrified.’ However, the angel says, do not be afraid, for a savior has been born. He is in Bethlehem, the angel says, go and see him! They leave quickly and go to see the savior of the world.
I have full confidence that the "terrified" state went away rather quickly. Why am I so confident of this? Because they were going to see the savior! See, I think from time to time, during life, those terrifying moments, we need to be better about going to see the savior. We find many avenues in which to travel when we become terrified. Even for me, that night in a Wichita Police Department vehicle, I was considering the avenues I would travel. Would I fight back if something happened? Would I lock the doors and attempt to use the radio? Would I get out and run to safety? Would I just lock the doors and hope nothing happened? What would I do? When terrified in any situation we find ourselves at an avenue of options.
The shepherds that night, they didn’t run away from being terrified. They ran to the savior. It says that after seeing him they told everyone about what the angel had said to them about this child. It says all who heard were astonished! Something that caused fear, a terrified reaction, was used for good. But it wasn’t because they stayed terrified. They knew that the one who had been born, the savior, was able to do more than they could ever imagine. They ran to the savior, told the story, and all were astonished! What do you fear right now in life? Relationship issues? A health diagnosis? Financial difficulties? A bad situation you are in? Your job? Your security? Run to the savior! Allow him to help you remove the fear and find peace.
If you are connected to a church in the community talk to your pastor about your fears. If you are not connected, find a neighborhood church and connect with someone there. During this season of Advent, we are preparing for the savior of the world! There is no need to be terrified.
— Clint McBroom is pastor at the First Church of God of Newton.