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Bob Slosser
Spiritual Life

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Open Your Eyes Wide, and Don't Be Afraid

By Bob Slosser Columnist - I have been slow in picking up on the fear in the land. It’s certainly not because I'm so brave I didn't recognize the condition. Neither was I unsympathetic. I guess I simply was looking the other way or not paying attention.

It's not just the kids either, although there’s been concern about them. It’s all ages and both sexes, with little concern for geography.

We have never seen such horror, thanks to the brilliance and bravery of cameramen and reporters. American newsmen are without peers in coverage of disasters and major tragedies, such as the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 and the seemingly immediate tragedies around Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. Give the hungry beast something horrible, nonpolitical, full-scope to go after, and they will overcome earthquakes, hurricanes, violence, and danger to do, even overdo, an unsurpassed job of truth-telling. But when the ol' politics and other axes that need grinding start to seep in, look out; all bets are off. God bless and save the press!

Fear is an awful thing. Old family photos show sad fear in my wide eyes. World War II-era pictures were okay. Apparently I, an Okie, was constantly fearful in the thirties because of the Depression. I saw a lot of ugly things, and I knew they could envelop me. Remember, it was like a ghost, nothing to strike back at, a sort of terrorism. It's like that in a lot of little, third-world nations all the time. Look at the eyes.

I personally run to Jesus any time I'm afraid. He says lots about fear.

Since discovering the condition in America -- surprisingly in the high schools -- I've had one thought rumbling through my mind. And I'm tormented by the urgency to communicate (not to preach) the antidote to the beloved kids and their elders. But the antidote requires faith, hope, and love nothing else. Without those virtues, what I'm saying sounds like garbage. But sound like a fool I must.

When a crowd described as "many thousands" had gathered and they were "trampling on one another," Jesus began to talk, softly at first: "I tell you, my friends [that’s the creator of heaven and earth speaking, folks, Almighty God, and he called us friends], do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.

"But I will show you whom you should fear [revere, respect]: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him."

There was something about Jesus, maybe it was the eyes, that caused people to hang on every word he spoke. Their reaction to these words was fear and trembling, for he moved right into these reassurances: "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

They start to relax a bit, then: "I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God" (Luke 12:4-9, NIV).

Now, mortal friends, understand who those angels are. They take their orders from God and are unlike anyone we’ve seen in strength, wisdom, ferocity, and love. Nothing mortal stands against them. And they are real, unlike what we see on television and film. They have a huge mission and it’s for God and all he calls his own.

Let me leave you with this: Jesus was telling us to have a real view of life, not just that short view we've learned. Life is eternal. I really mean that. It goes on and on, forever. Take that view and understand him. You don't have to be afraid and that's the truth.

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