I took a day off work today so that I could take my family to Werribee open range Zoo today. My little son was especially excited to see all the animals.
For me, however, this was a trip I did not want to make. I find travelling through the city difficult at the best of times, as the city centre is a rabbit-warren like maze of freeways, tunnels and confusing off-ramps.
Yet the primary reason for my reservations for this trip was that the city is in the midst of carrying out extensive road works, and I heard a couple of months ago that they had closed the road I normally used to get through the city to reach the West Gate Bridge.
As this day approached, I found myself bombarded with fearful thoughts. Those insidious “what if” thoughts came in thick and fast. What if I couldn’t find the correct off-ramp? What if upon finding the correct off-ramp, I was in the wrong lane and couldn’t reach it in time? What if I ended up travelling down an unknown section of the freeway, not knowing how to get back to the West Gate Bridge?
So I woke this morning looking for any excuse not to go. Perhaps the threatened thunder storm was moving in? That would make the perfect excuse. But with sunshine streaming through my bedroom window, I knew that excuse would not wash.
Then I made a decision. I would face this fear. I would not let fear of what could go wrong immobilise me and ruin this family occasion.
I recalled what I had read in the Bible last night. In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul writes, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”
So it was God’s grace working through Paul that helped him to serve God, to live the life God gave him.
So I loaded my family into the car, faced my fears, and braved the changed traffic conditions, availing myself of the power of God’s unlimited grace.
And after all those fearful thoughts, after all those “what ifs” - do you know what went wrong? Absolutely nothing – I followed all the road signs and found the route to the bridge, and all the way to the zoo. (And if something had gone wrong, we would have found our way back to the correct route eventually.)
And we had a wonderful time. We watched an irresistibly cute family of meerkats frolicking in their habitat, we learned that zebras roll in rhino poo to smell like rhinos, so that the short sighted rhinos think the zebras are rhinos and leave them alone (ewww), we saw giraffes, hippos, even camels. And my kids had a ball, racing around the walkways and giggling their heads off.
On the way back from the zoo, I reflected on how Satan wants to rob us of the fullness of life that Jesus has given us. Satan will never hesitate to throw fears at us in an attempt to scare us into immobility, to stop us stepping forth in faith to receive the blessings that God is reaching out to give us.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
Satan wants to rob us of God’s blessings to make our hearts sick, but by trusting in God and stepping forward in faith, by availing ourselves of His grace, we stand ready to receive fulfilled heart’s desires, and life.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12.