Read This Before You Panic
Pastor Glenn Burris tells that one of the ways he helps around the house is to haul the large garbage containers out to the street for pickup—a five-minute job. But one time, he relates, the simple task took on an unexpected twist.
I had just rolled out the third can when I noticed…the snake. It was about five or six feet long and was lying in some grass just off our driveway. My heart was racing as I grabbed my cell phone and called [my wife] Debbie, who was inside the house…. I didn’t want to leave in case the snake crawled away, because then I would worry about where it might go.
When Debbie answered her phone, I quickly got to the point: “Grab the shovel and meet me at the street near the driveway. There’s a humongous snake in our yard!”
Her response was much too calm. “I’ll be glad to bring the shovel, but the snake is already dead,” she said. “The gardener saw it, killed it and left it in the yard for the crows to take.”
In just about 15 seconds, my whole perspective changed. The source of fear that had gripped me so strongly just minutes before was now easily explained.
We’re naturally afraid of what we think might harm us. It’s a protection God has built into us for self-preservation. But most of the time what we’re afraid of never takes place. Like Pastor Glenn, we worry about “dead snakes.”
God knows it’s our natural reaction. So over and over again in the Bible in many different circumstances, you’ll find the words “Don’t be afraid.” (For example, see Matthew 10:31, Mark 5:36, John 6:20.) You can find instances of people who thought they were going to starve, or drown, or be killed in war, die in childbirth, or be murdered. But God brought them through unscathed.
So, before you panic about that situation you’re facing, look again. The snake may not even be alive.
 Rev. Glenn Burris, Jr., email@example.com, 2008 E-newsletter, June 2008.