Real or Imagined

We lived about a mile and three quarters down a dusty, gravel road near Poyen, AR. One night a few of us young boys and maybe a couple of the neighbor girls decided to walk to Poyen. It was a dark night and the only way you could see to stay on the road was by looking up at the sky to see the faint outline of the trees lining the road. I was the youngest with the ages ranging from about 7 or 8 years old to about 14 to 15, maybe a little older. As we walked along, someone in the group started talking about hearing a bear out in the woods. “Stop! Listen! I think I hear a bear out in the woods!” By the time this was played out two or three times, the whole bunch of us got ourselves scared spitless just talking about what could happen if a bear came out of the woods after us. Pretty soon someone exclaimed, “I’m scared!”, and took off running at full speed. The rest fell in right behind them, myself included. The problem was that with everyone being in good athletic shape, they could all outrun me. We couldn’t even see each other as it was, so it took just two shakes of a lamb’s tail, and I was running all alone. That made me even more scared. I remember just how whimpering, squealing scared I was with visions of a big bear lumbering right behind me catching up with me and taking me down. You know, I don’t even remember how the whole event turned out, but it must have turned out okay, because here I am. But I do remember how utterly scared I was from the imagined bear coming out of the woods to chase us down.

Is it real or imagined? Sometimes we allow things in life to play in our imaginations until we are being driven by fears, assumptions, partial evidences, and symptoms. We come to our own conclusions and our emotions take over, and off we go. It is easy to give to that and be running down the road at full speed in the darkness of the night, driven by an unfounded fear. What if one of the group had courageously stopped the childish banter and gone over to the edge of the woods and shouted, “The Lord Jesus takes care of me!” and clapped his hands, and nothing happened. Then, everybody on purpose decided to change the conversation and think on something else. I believe the outcome would have been different. How do we handle imaginations? First, we need to face them with the full truth of things. Then, take control of our fears. What is the truth of the Word? Then, in the face of the full truth, take appropriate action. Learn how to deal with bears!  If the bear is not there, carry on, accomplishing your goals in life. Refuse to be pushed by fears and imaginations.