What are we afraid of?

Published 9:30 pm Thursday, July 23, 2009

Many of us can relate to the title of the best-selling book, The End of Prosperity. Some believe our better days are behind and that our children’s futures aren’t very bright.

Haven’t you heard? Unemployment is up, the stock market and real estate values are down, and many say that Social Security is going broke.

More than 50 years ago, an elderly friend told me a story from which I believe we can glean some encouragement. It happened in the late 1800s, somewhere around the town of Winton, N.C.

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Many of the people in town were afraid to cross a particular bridge after dark. Their horses would stop, rear up and refuse to go forward. After this happened a few times, word spread through the community that a ghost was haunting the bridge.

At that time, my old friend was a young man who didn’t believe in ghosts. One evening, he prepared a lantern and a rifle to confront whatever was spooking the horses.

After dark, he waited patiently, until, finally, a horse and buggy approached the bridge. After the buggy started across the bridge, the quiet was suddenly shattered by the shrill pounding of hooves.

The commotion stirred something to challenge the horse, not allowing him to cross the bridge. As before, the horse stopped, reared and refused to go forward.

I am sure that my friend, although not afraid of the supernatural, had a big lump in his throat as he walked in front of the horse. With lantern held high and taking careful aim, he shot and killed the “ghost.”

The next morning, he discovered that the “ghost” was a badger with a bad disposition, whose den was under the bridge.

Many times, our fears are magnified by our minds. Our imagination takes hold, and we go into a panic. We think, “What if this happens?” or “What might be?”

There is an old saying that I often repeat: “Don’t borrow trouble.”

Don’t be like the people in this story. Be like my friend, who faced his problem and shot and killed the ghost. In the light of the sun, he could see it was not a ghost but a badger. Why had everyone been so afraid?

Be anxious for nothing, but in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ. – Philippians 4:6-7.