Fear often runs and ruins our lives. It causes us to hide our truest selves, hedge our deepest convictions, and hesitate to use our finest gifts. Fear makes us obsessed with security, status, and success. It makes us reluctant to venture beyond the walls of the familiar, and it bars the way to meaningful friendships with people whose experiences and viewpoints are different from our own. Fear causes us to live in a world so much smaller than the one God loves.
When I was a boy in Atlanta, I often visited the Grant Park Zoo. The zoo’s most famous resident was a gorilla whose nickname was “Willie B.” in honor of a former Atlanta mayor, William B. Hartsfield. I always sent to see the massive gorilla, and it always made me sad that he lived in a glass cage instead of in the jungle. These days, I wonder if “Willie B.” was sad, too; or had he been captive for so long that he had lost sight of a world beyond the narrow confines of his cage? Had he surrendered his desire to run free?
The God made known in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is always flinging open the doors to our cages. We don’t have to be paralyzed by fear. Love sends us and goes with us into God’s vast, wonderful, troubled, and beautiful word, the world God sent Jesus to reclaim and to heal.