WHAT SCARES YOU?
By Ada Brownell
How often were you paralyzed by fear in your youth?
The first time I remember a snake of worry wiggling into my brain I was about age 4 and my sister told me Indians used to live on the same ground where my family lived.
But that wasn’t nearly as scary as the realities I lived with growing up during World War II. I remember one summer night when the town’s sirens interrupted our evening, screaming the warning. We didn’t know whether enemy planes approached in the night sky, or if it was a blackout drill.
Our large family scurried to turn out lights. We felt our way to the back porch where moonlight illuminated things around us and gave us a view of the sky.
My heart pounded as we waited quietly, listening. Sometimes I did hear airplanes. Perhaps they checked to see whether people obeyed the warning, but I was sure they must be bombers.
We had numerous blackouts after that.
Then came the years when the Soviet Union threatened with atomic bombs. Many new homes came with bomb shelters. We read about how difficult it would be to survive a nuclear blast.
Fear came, too, to many who expected our nation to be taken by communists, and preachers asked, “Are you willing to die for your faith?”
I had moments of paralyzing fear. My family of ten, however, beginning with my oldest sister, Marjorie, began to dedicate their lives to God shortly after I was born. Each of the older siblings and mom and dad quickly followed. I accepted Jesus as my Savior at age 5 and grew up knowing God loved me and had a plan for my life. There is a peace that comes with that beyond understanding (Philippians 4:7) and that made a difference for me, even during the most frightening times.
I discovered as an adult that no matter what you go through, God can speak, “Peace. Be still,” just as he did to calm a storm when his disciples were in danger of shipwreck (Mark 4:39). Jesus gave peace when I lost my parents and our daughter became a cancer victim. I’ve found supernatural comfort in crises with my own health, in times of financial worries, and when facing a tremendous challenges as a parent and in my years as a newspaper reporter.
In my book for teens, Joe the Dreamer: the Castle and the Catapult, when Joe’s parents disappear he has moments of paralyzing fear. A huge man breaks into his house while Joe and his sister hide in the crawl space. They have to live with an unbelieving uncle who thinks Joe is mentally ill because he slips into the skin of Bible characters during his dreams and shouts out in the night.
Yet, Joe has experienced supernatural peace, and tries to stay in God’s Word so somehow he’ll have faith for his parents’ safe return. He hooks up with a gang dedicated to solving and preventing crime. The teens use harmless things like a pet skunk, water, noise, sand, rope, and they are determined to find Joe’s parents despite knowing the enemy uses real bullets and won’t hesitate to kill.
But Joe has become the target of a radical group that hopes to erase Christianity from America.
Joe’s uncle sends him to a psychiatrist. It delights the doctor to put Joe in the juvenile unit of a mental hospital because the man leads the radical organization uses threats again Joe and his sister trying to persuade Joe’s father to give them a software program that could stop difficult-to-control seizures. He wants to change it so it will cause seizures in influential Christians.
The group snatched Joe’s parents and keeps them imprisoned at a nearby castle, building a wall.
As with any Christian, Joe’s faith is tested. The book is available at http://buff.ly/XeqTvH