Years ago my son JJ was standing next to the car when he noticed a communication tower close by. He cranked his head back to study it and then turned to my wife. “Mom,” he said, “that tower is taller than Dad, right?” He wasn’t making a statement. It was a question. He was trying to verify his assessment of Dad’s height in relation to the large structure. It was close enough he had to run it past Mom. From his vantage, I’m rather tall.
A few days later we were in the car. Without prompting JJ said, “Dad, I’m not afraid of anything.” And his statement was true. He is the kid who will jump from the top step with nothing but a rolled-up sweatshirt to break his fall.
It wasn’t until later I realized these two stories were connected. My son’s fearlessness relates directly to the fact that he believes his dad to be as tall as a 200-foot tower. If we are covered by someone who can protect us from harm, we tend to feel less afraid.
I’m not saying followers of Jesus are exempt from suffering. Jesus said that we would have to confront trials (John 16:33). Neither are we fully immune to fear. He said tomorrow will bring worries (Matthew 6:34). But consider the greatest trial any of us could face. I would argue that death is the one thing we fear more than any other. And we already know Jesus abolished death (2 Timothy 1:10). The sword of death was bent in half. So if our God has defeated the most formidable enemy we could ever face and his death-defying Spirit now lives in us (Romans 8:11), what do we actually have to fear?
The God with us is taller than a 200-foot tower. If he can help us overcome death, he can help us overcome anything.