If you were a Christian in the early 2000’s, you probably know right where this is going: Veggie Tales.
(No shame if you were not or have no idea what I’m talking about. But not knowing about Veggie Tales in the church is like not knowing about the Simpson’s or Elvis Presley in Hollywood. Do yourself a favor and check out a few YouTube videos before finishing this read…)
Do you remember this episode? Junior Asparagus blatantly disobeys his parents and watches a movie that is too scary for him. Then, with full justice for his disobedience, he has haunting thoughts of terrifying nightmares and is too scared to go to bed. In a very unsettling way, strangers from space, Bob & Larry, appear to tell him that he doesn’t need to be afraid and sings the song…
“God is bigger than the boogie man
He’s bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on T.V.
Oh God is bigger than the boogie man
And He’s watching over you and me”
I’ve been thinking about this episode a lot as we spend our days inside our homes, quarantined from work, schools, and church, family and friends. We don’t have much to do but be driven to the brink of madness by those we love the most and let our mind wander to the “what-if”s that keep us up at night. When asked what he’s going to do about his fears, Junior says he’s going to call the police. Given the restrictions on their intervention these days, even calling the police may not be a solution to squelch our fears anymore.
So where does that leave us? Still afraid of big things like job loss, economic downfall, food shortages, sickness, and smaller things like educating our children, our cars working when they finally get turned on again, and the extra 5lbs of junk food weight we’ve all gained in quarantine.
This time in isolation (along with some of my counseling classes) have given me real time to ponder the perspective of this beloved Veggie Tale. I’ve come to realize that this outlook on his fear is insufficient to deal with the real fears we (and our children) face today. Junior says “I know whatever is gonna happen, I know that God can handle it!” That is true but “even the demons believe” (James 2:19). Junior’s knowledge of God is a good start but unlike the simple resolution in this classic tale, knowledge alone is insufficient to deal with the weight of fear that grips our hearts.
James tells us that even the demons believe in God, but then they do something about it – they shutter! The difference between a believer and a demon is not their knowledge of God but their response to this knowledge. James reminds us that we must DO something with that knowledge of Gods power and sovereignty.
The question then becomes what do we do? We can sing “God is bigger than the boogie man” until Bob & Larry appear in our rooms too, but that might just be more frightening.
I would suggest that we begin with the very thing Junior neglected: talk TO the Lord about our fear. Join the ranks of Moses, Elijah, and David by crying out to the Lord in honesty about what is most terrifying in our world. Write your prayer like Moses, sit in silence like Isaiah, cry like Jeremiah, scream like Samson, or sing like Paul and Silas. But however you express yourself best, commune with the Lord.
Yes believe that God is bigger than your fears, and see how the Scriptures demonstrate the Lords faithfulness to those who have been afraid before you. But don’t settle for just knowing that God is bigger than the boogie man, talk to Him about that boogie man. Be honest with Him about what scares you the most and ask Him to be with you in the midst of your fear. Seek His presence to comfort your heart even if the threat remains.
We may be in quarantine for a long time. You may lose your job. The grocery store may run out of food. You or a loved one may get sick. The fears we face are not unmerited but nor is our God silent or absent in the midst of our fears. Use this time to not just believe that God is bigger than your fear, but do something with that knowledge. Seek to know Him better while you are afraid.
Consider the words of Psalm 56:3-4 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.” This is a wonderful reminder to trust God and DO something when you are afraid.
Paul tells us Philippians 4:6-7 what we are to do “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
How do you overcome the very real fears we face? You can’t just think your way out of being afraid. Simple belief is not enough. Talk to God. In honesty, humility and faith, talk to God. Let Him be a part of how you feel, and ask for His help in the midst of fear. God IS bigger than the boogie man. Let’s invite Him to show up in our lives to show us how He’s watching out for you and me.
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