Scared To Death

I had occasion to be traversing the roads of ruralish Iowa. On this particular day there was an inordinate number of deer lying by the side of the road.

I have seen this often as a road warrior salesman covering a rural territory on back roads. Many deer; lying by the side of the road with no discernible wound. When one hunts and shoots at a deer it is the most common thing for the deer to take off running. If hit it can take time until is succumbs. When hit by a car the carnage is often visible, but at least detectable, and usually the carcass is a ways off the roadway, the animal’s momentum carrying it a certain distance from the point of impact.

In every case this day it was as though the animal died immediately upon seeing the car. It was as though it were “scared to death”.

It is an interesting phrase “scared to death”. When I mention to people that I sing in public or in churches, playing my own accompaniment on my guitar a reply that I often hear is “That would scare me to death”.

When I was a salesman, making innumerable cold calls, the phrase often came up, “That would scare me to death.” It really doesn’t necessarily scare them to die, but like the deer, perhaps it truly does in their mind’s eye. Have the challenges of life that you are afraid of, scared you to death? Have you felt a message to move in a new direction that you feel is a call to you from Jesus? Or from a similar source? Have you been afraid to test the waters of Jesus’ challenge to love one another because you have been afraid of being hurt again, or rejected or refused? Has this fear incapacitated you as much as the deer lying beside the road? Have you been so afraid that you have been a carcass on the roadside listening in a stupor as the relationships of other people’s lives pass by you on the roadway?

How many dreams do we fail to follow because we are afraid they won’t turn out the way we wish until one day we found we have ‘died’ to the life that the dream originally represented?

I know that I have been scared to death before. I have found myself feeling dead to living and patiently waiting for whatever day of my death appears to receive my earthly reward. Then one day I discovered that I had squandered the gift of the blessing of living this life out of fear of the unknown that comes with it.

The Robert Frost poem “The Road Less Taken” is about choices. Two roads diverged in a wood, one was well traveled, and one was less traveled. At the end the statement, for the poet, how much better it has been for him in taking the road less traveled. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”.

I think which road one takes depends on the person. The well-traveled road is well traveled because it works well for most. It satisfies and fulfills. Sometimes it does not. The dreamer is driven and beckoned by the road less traveled. Whatever it is down that road, it is a road the dreamer eventually chooses. That is the essence of the challenge of “Scared to Death”. One had missed the opportunities that lied along the road less traveled.

Jesus, a carpenter’s son, at a time when father and son forged the same future quite often, Jesus chose a road that very easily could Scare Him To Death. All the prophesies that had garnered His attention had a future that would have deterred the choices of others. Death on a Cross in a fight for social justice and a change in the thinking of most. At the final stage of the prophesy Jesus prayed.

“My Father” Jesus began, “if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it as you, not I, would have it”. Jesus’s Faith believed that GOD, under whatever name, is a GOD that prepares the way. Faith is knowing that the gift of this life is as rewarding and fantastic in its living as the reward we seek after its tenure. And that “Do not let your hearts be troubled, Trust in GOD, still, And trust in me.” Many times in your life you may find yourself “Scared to Death”.

So here I my be, chugging along the road less traveled. How much different would life have been had I chosen this road at the outset, instead of the comfortable and familiar. I believe I have always been moving on the right path. It actually doesn’t make much difference, for this life is a book of travels. And, for now, this journey is on the road less traveled. Trust in GOD, still, And trust in Jesus”.

Matt: 26: 39-40
John: 14: 1

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