A song of ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Fear cost me $5,000 last year.
I am a cancer survivor, as you probably know, and I certainly would have spent around a $1,000 on blood tests and CT scans anyway, just because doctors like to keep track of me. But because I am afraid of cancer, because I often freak out over little pains or the passage of time, I call those same doctors, and they order more tests.
They all came back negative, for which I am extremely thankful, but the price tag for fear was pretty steep.
That’s not all fear cost me. I spent countless hours fretting over whether I should call the doctor and then waiting for the doctor to call me. I spent many conversations with friends and family talking about me and my fear when I could have been getting to know them, helping with their fears. And there’s a couple dozen hours of sleep I will never enjoy because I was up stewing over my fear.
Fear cost me a lot last year.
When I tell people I struggle with being afraid, they don’t blame me. They tell me that they would be afraid, too, if they had had cancer. In fact, they tell me what they are afraid of now, even if they haven’t had cancer, because they have lost jobs or had bad relationships or held loved ones as they died, and they, too, know what it’s like to fear.
Fear costs them a lot, too.
Last Sunday, I heard a sermon about Jesus’ parable of the talents, in which three servants were given resources from their master equivalent to their abilities. The servant who was given five talents, the equivalent of more than 5 million dollars, invested wisely and presented 10 talents back to the master. The servant given two talents doubled his investment as well, and presented four talents back to the master.
The servant given one talent was afraid. He thought his master to be hard and cruel, and so he did everything he could to just hold on to the one talent. He was afraid to take a risk, fearing what it would cost him.
In the end, the servant who was afraid of the cost lost everything because of his fear.
Fear cost him more than $5,000.
It’s a new year, and I’m still a cancer survivor. And I’m also still afraid.
But I don’t want to be.
Lord, help me not to fear.