Cascade, Coyotes, Tim Keller and Courage

Cascade is obsessed with coyotes. 

The local newspaper ran a story this week that several coyotes have been sighted in the Blueberry Hill area.  That’s about a mile from here. 

Now Cascade thinks that there is a pack roaming the neighborhood.  Even worse–she thinks that they are hungry for little kids.  I suppose a little fear is a good thing–if it’s a good fear

But it’s easy to become obsessed about our fears.  We all have them to some extent.  Children may have more than their parents, but adults are not immune to the emotion of fear.

Of what are you afraid? 

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in Acts lately.  If anything, the study of the practices of the 1st century Christian Church is one of courage.  The apostles simply were not intimidated.  After being threatened, they “continued to speak the Word of God with boldness” (4:31).  After being flogged, they “did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (5:42).  What explains their fearlessness?  Christ!  The life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ deeply and permanently affected their lives.  Jesus made a difference.  We also see that in the life of the Apostle Paul.  The question for us to ponder today is this:  Is courage because of Christ evident in our lives as well? 

Think on it.

You have fears.  I have anxiety.  How will we respond?  I suppose it depends upon our theology (the knowledge of the words and works of God).  Who is Jesus? What did He say?  What did He do?  These are all important questions with which to wrestle.  The biblical answers to them supply the courage we lack! 

Cascade wasn’t the only one with expressed fears last night.  TJ (he’s eight) was overly emotional at bedtime (not necessarily a rare event).  When I inquired as to what was wrong, he replied, “I’m afraid.”  However, he did not know the reason.  He was just scared.  As any decent father, I attempted to alleviate his fears.  I caressed him as I prayed for him, and I encouraged him to “Be still and know” that God is indeed God (Ps. 46:10).  Resignation to that truth can also enable Cascade to continue to play outside.  It was all that the apostles required as they faced persecution for their faith.  In reality, it is enough for you and I today.  God is God.  Jesus is God.  Believe.  Rest.  Walk in courage.

And–if interviewed–answer questions with courage.  In a recent interview, author and pastor Tim Keller struggled to answer a simple question:  Is Jesus the only way to heaven?  Surely fear was the emotion behind his timid, non-dogmatic reply.  As I watched the clip (you can find it on the link below), I was deeply saddened.  Only fear of men would keep someone like Dr. Keller from answering such an easy question with such a weak, conditional response.  I had so hoped to hear the courageous reply which would have been offered from Dr. John MacArthur.  Larry King would often interview John MacArthur when he desired to hear what the Bible has to say about particular issues.  Dr. Keller would have been wise simply to open his Bible and quote John 14:6–Jesus’ exclusivistic claim of being the only way to the Father. 

In writing these words, a question comes to my own consciousness:  How often have I been fearful of men when discussing the truths of God?  Have I been ashamed of Jesus or His claims? 

May God give us all courage when we fear coyotes or the disapproval of men!

Here’s the link to the blog containing the interview with Dr. Keller.  Learn from his lapse of judgement, but remember that we all have our moments of weakness!


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