The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
Today is Halloween – a day for all things spooky, scary, and fun! Our little guys have been so excited about this day for weeks! They wore their costumes to school – Miles, our little sports fanatic, went as a surfer; and Cole, a pirate. Both were going parading through the school with their classmates and then having a party to celebrate. And tonight – they will be out in the neighborhood with Mom and Dad, knocking on doors and getting their pumpkins full of candy!
How times have changed! I remember my own days of going trick or treating with my friends and walking for miles! Other kids would hide behind shrubs and trees and jump out at us – to scare us along the way – and I can still see those scenes vividly as we would scream and run! Then we would compare our bags of candy, apples, and homemade cookies to see who had the most! Often we would be gone for a couple of hours, and gratefully our parents never had to worry about strangers abducting us or giving us harmful treats. It was simply a fun night with friends!
I also remember how much Kelly and Scott enjoyed going door to door in our neighborhood, and they were always good about letting me tag along to keep them safe. They also loved going to the haunted house at our local school and being “spooked” as they met unexpected “creatures”, spider webs, and slimy things as they walked through. But it was all in fun, and they have many happy memories, as will Miles and Cole.
There is something about this day that kids love! Perhaps it’s the idea of “spooky things” without them actually being real and scary. Or maybe they like dressing up and pretending to be someone they’re not. Whatever it is, it is one of their favorite days! And many adults enjoy it just as much, as they dress up and participate in the fun!
But what is it that intrigues us about being frightened? Why do so many love to watch scary movies? (Not me!) Is it the adrenaline rush? Is it because they know they are perfectly safe watching them, even though the scenes are much too vivid and scary? Maybe it’s because that idea somehow brings fear, excitement, and assurance all at the same time. Or perhaps it’s because there are so many frightening things in life, and this is an easier way to confront their worst fears.
Sadly in our lifetime, we, our children, and our grandchildren have had to come to the realization that it’s a scary world we live in. There’s really no place we are totally safe anymore, Real shootings occur while people innocently watch a movie inside a theater or ride in their cars. Even our homes, schools, malls, and other areas we once thought were safe, no longer are. All around us, we are bombarded with the uncertainties of life as we hear and see stories about abductions, rapes, terrorist attacks, murders, accidents, and natural disasters that cause injuries and death.
Sometimes we have to actually confront our fears and face these terrifying and life threatening events when they come our way. But how? For many of us, it begins with our trust and faith in God’s promises to us. Even when our hearts are filled with fear, we have His assurance that He is present and that He will never leave us nor forsake us. How grateful we can be to know that God goes before us into any dangers we might face – waiting to carry us through – even if it means carrying us through death. What a comfort and a promise from our God who is always present with us.
Dear God, how grateful we are that you are always with us through the uncertain, dangerous, and frightening times in our lives. Thank you for the comfort of your presence, the strength to endure, and the assurance of your grace to carry us through. Amen.