They can’t run fast, but once they latch on, they don’t let go. Fear is like that. It usually comes up over time and covers you with a blanket of darkness.

My brother and I were fishing around Lake Surprise at Camp Aheka back in my scouting days. This lake in New Jersey was the site of a lot of my weekend activities in my teen years. I was in the water a lot with lifeguard lessons and waterfront safety and The Mile Swim as we used to call it.

One day my brother and I were beating the water with our fishing gear, more slapping around then actual fishing and he got a bite. He was standing on a small floating dock that normally was 6 or 8 inches above the water and he started to sink as the dock went underwater. I couldn’t believe it, what did he have on that line, a whale? Turns out, it was the lakes largest snapping turtle, we called him Little Joe. He was a legend, with a hole in his shell to boot that we all thought was a bullet hole. He was one mean old turtle. I saw the hole  with my own eyes. And the shell was gigantic, three feet for sure. I didn’t know they got that big.

From then on out, I had images of swimming in Lake Surprise and that Snapper. I was afraid of him grabbing on to one of my legs and taking me under. I couldn’t get it out of my mind whenever I was near the lake. He was a monster and I was afraid.

It’s amazing how much influence that fear had in my life and my water borne activities. It literally stopped me from doing some things I really wanted to do.

I don’t imagine Little Joe is around anymore, but fear still is. I would guess that it will always be around. It has affected us all, often destroying a part of our lives that we would like to really live out more fully.

Elijah came up on a big snapper one time, named Jezebel. She had a big bark and a big bite. And it really got Elijah down.

1 Kings 19  —– Elijah Flees to Horeb

 1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”  3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.

Sometimes I get afraid. There are two things that help. One, admitting I’m afraid. And two, talking to God about it. I get help from other places, but the best help comes from God. It took Elijah a little while to settle down and let go of his fear. It had a tight grip, but eventually it will lose it’s hold on us when we are in the powerful hands of God.

The rest of Elijah’s story in the desert and in the cave has a healing effect on us when we fear. There was sleep and self pity and fear and food and sleep and water and finally a visit with God and some friendly encouragement among some demonstrations by God of His power.

If God could do that with His faltering friend Elijah you can believe He can break the grip of fear with you as well.