It’s tempting to assume that we are more vulnerable today, giving us more reason to be afraid than our parents or grandparents. Back then, people slept with doors unlocked. The world was a much safer place. Or was it?
We might recall that there was plenty of fear 40–50 years ago. In the time between World War II and Vietnam, my own extended family built a cellar in my grandmother’s back yard. We called it the bomb shelter, and we stocked it with canned goods. At school, we practiced hiding under our desks as if they could actually shield us from a nuclear weapon.
Legalized segregation was still the norm in some places. It was not uncommon to hear warnings from both directions about venturing across to the “other side of the railroad tracks.”
When fear is the driving force behind our choices, it is difficult to recognize the gift represented by the stranger. This does not mean God removes us from all danger, but rather that our lives are given to us that we might love God by loving one another—not distance ourselves on account of fear.
How might we live more faithfully and less fearfully?
This message was adapted from “From Fearful to Faithful” written by Audrey West that first appeared in the November 2008 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.