That Didn’t Hurt!
Playing around sewing machines was a dumb thing to do, even for a four-year-old. Too much running and not enough looking eventually causes accidents and mine was a big one. The shelf for holding the fabric was just above eye level and I hit it hard and started screaming. Blood was spurting everywhere. Normally sane adults were panic-stricken as I found myself being thrown into a car and rushed to the local hospital emergency room.
“He’ll need three stitches just over his left eye,” said the doctor. The three adults who brought me all nodded in agreement. Of course, I didn’t know any of this. Instead, I saw a big man walking over towards me preparing to cover my head with a sheet. (They did that in those days!) Blind and scared, I did what only comes natural for a four-year-old in a fix. I screamed and kicked my bloody head off.
They told me later that one man held my head, another laid across my body while four more held a leg or an arm, all as the poor doctor applied the local anesthetic and three little stitches. What made this experience so memorable was that immediately following the surgery, I sat up and looked around the room, smiled and said, “That didn’t hurt!”
The adults involved laugh now, but at the time, they wanted to give me a demonstration of real pain by tanning my backside! Why was I so frightened? Was I just a wimp? (Don’t answer!)
I was feeling the real pain of the head injury plus a fear of something unknown represented by the mysterious sheet covering my eyes. The combination made for one scared little boy. The reality, however, was not nearly so bad as what I feared so in the end… I could smile (while everyone else groaned) and confidently say… that didn’t hurt or that wasn’t so bad!
As we grow older we often face situations that cause real pain but the danger comes when we combine the actual pain with the fear of the unknown. It then becomes a formula for disaster.
- The boss wanders into your office unexpectedly and asks to meet with you in the morning…
- Your doctor calls and wants to discuss your latest test results personally…
- A good friend has become more distant lately with no explanations…
What would be your response? Would you stay up all night worrying then charge in the next morning demanding an explanation? Maybe there would be a few phone calls in the middle of the night to friends while you cry over imagined tragedies? Would you visit a local tavern or liquor store and quietly drink your troubles away?
Life is like that. We get scared of the unknown and start kicking and screaming instead of trusting in God to see us through. Here are some realistic spiritual remedies to help calm your fears:
- Psalm 34:4 — I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears.
- Matthew 6:25-27 — “So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not.”
- 1 John 4:18 — Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us.
What do you really fear? Can you learn to replace that fear with faith in God’s love for you?
In the end, we can rely on the promise that God offers us all the chance face our fears with boldness and say… “That didn’t hurt!”