Are You Afraid?

3 05 2015

I remember that hot summer night back in 1970; I had just gotten my license, had a car and two of my buddies anRock _nd I were enjoying the rite of passage that every teenager looks forward to, cruising up and down the streets of our hometown without adult supervision.

What an awesome time to be young and alive, we were rulers of our destiny and every moment was made for a new adventure. We were riding on State St., the main drag of Fremont just like all the other road warriors of the time listening to the radio, singing along and just having a great time being young. As we were driving through a local park we spotted two upper classmen we recognized walking along the road. “Hey, give us ride,” one called out. They climbed in and we were on top of the world, two popular seniors wanting to hang out with us for the night; couldn’t wait for everyone to see us all together. This is gonna be awesome I thought; well as today’s young generation puts it, “Not!”

When they got in you could smell the alcohol from them drinking and we hoped they’d buy us some, but one said, “Let’s just drive.” There was eeriness on how quiet they were as we tried to make conversation to no avail. My friend Jim who was riding in the back seat with them thought maybe a little show and tell would break the ice; “Hey guys, take a look at this,” and he pulled a 4-inch switchblade out of his pocket and flicked it open. “Let me see that,” the one said, so he handed it to him. “Pretty cool, huh?” Jim said. “Yeah, our older companion answered back; “Pretty cool.” None of us were prepared for what happened next. After holding it close to his face for a minute as if studying the knife from every angle, he suddenly lunged forward and grabbed Dave, the front passenger by the head and slammed him into the back of the seat. He then placed the shiny steel blade against his neck and in a loud almost devilish voice said, “I’m going to kill you!” “Come on, quit messing around,” Dave protested. “Messing around, who’s messing around?!!” screamed this wild man who was fully out of control now; “I said I’m going to kill you and I mean I’m going to kill you!” All of us were frozen with fear, even the other guy acted like he had never before seen his friend like this. I wanted to stop the car, but I feared any sudden move would cause this nut job to cut Dave either accidentally or on purpose. I felt completely helpless as the ranting continued. “I’m going to kill you, are you scared, are you?!! Here it comes, are you ready to die, tell me are you afraid, fear me, are you scared?!!” “Yes, I’m afraid!” Dave finally screamed out, “No, I don’t want to die!” With that the attacker let out a blood curdling scream, let go of Dave, sat back in the seat then folded and handed the knife back to Jim, and in a calm voice said, “Okay.” Then he and his buddy broke into hysterical laughter while the three of us sat quietly and emotionally spent; just couldn’t see any amusement in what just happened. “Let us out at the next corner,” I was ordered. When I came to a stop I reached for a cigarette, but could hardly get it between my lips from shaking so bad. Leaning over the seat our knife wielding lunatic clicked his lighter on and lit the end of my smoke. “Beats a knife to the throat huh?” he said with a chuckle. Giving me a slap on the shoulder and a “Thanks for the ride,” they disappeared into the night. I slapped the car into “B for Boogie” and got away from there as fast as I could. So much for the thrill of new adventures!

“The presence of fear does not mean you have no faith. Fear visits everyone. But make your fear a visitor and not a resident.” Max Lucado

I never saw this guy again, but years later I would revisit that harrowing night in my mind, and it finally occurred to me what really happened back then. I don’t believe it was ever this person’s intention to harm my pal Dave; I’m convinced there was something more important he was after. He needed to see and hear the fear Dave had in his heart thinking he might die any minute, believing he had the power of life and death in his hands. Once his thirst for the torment and terror was quenched, he was satisfied.

Over time I have met many that feed their ego by holding others captive either physically or emotionally using fear as their weapon. I know because I also was a prisoner once terrified of what one man might do to me. What finally broke those chains is when I stopped giving over to what he wanted, for me to fear him. For a time the abuse continued, but when he realized whether he hurt me or not, I would no longer be afraid of him; his grip on my life was severed.

Before I was a Christian, I had a fear of the unknown, what would happen to me at the end of life. When I discovered Christ, I discovered there wasn’t anything to be afraid of. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

And in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Matter of fact over 300 times in the Bible we are told to “Fear not.” Where we haven’t the strength, God does. And with Him on our side, no matter what, in the end we win!!!

“Travelers of the Rock Road,” fear is out there waiting at anytime to ensnare all of us. The question then is do we become enslaved to fear, or do we draw on our strength to overcome?

For the ones who call themselves Believers, it can be summed up like this; “The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?” Knowing God in on my side, I’ve only got two words for you fear mongers, “BRING IT!!!”

Just a side note, from that day forth I’m been more selective about who I give rides to. And if one was ever to ask, “Hey, you got a knife on you?” NO!!!

See ya next time.




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