It sometimes happens on certain coasts of Brittany or Scotland that a man traveler or fisherman, walking on the beach at low tide, far from the bank, suddenly notices that for several minutes he has been walking with some difficulty. The strand beneath his feet is like pitch; his soles stick to it; it is sand no longer – it is glue.
The beach is perfectly dry; but at every step he takes, as soon as he lifts his foot, the print which it leaves fills with water. The eye however has noticed no change. The joyous little clod of sand-fleas continues to leap tumultuously over the wayfarer’s feet.
The man pursues his way, goes forward, inclines to the land, and endeavors to get nearer the upland. Only he feels somehow as if the weight of his feet increases with every step he takes. He sinks in two or three inches. All at once he looks at his feet. His feet have disappeared. The sand covers them. He draws his feet out of the sand. He will retrace his steps; he turns back. He sinks in deeper.
He throws himself to the right; the sand comes up to his shins. Beneath him is the fearful medium in which man can walk or fish can swim. He throws off his load, if he has one, and lightens himself like a ship in distress.
It is already too late. The sand is above his knees. If the beach is deserted, if the land is too far off, if there is no help in sight, it is all over. He is condemned to that appalling burial, long, infallible, impossible to slacken or to hasten, which endures for hours, which will not end.
The victim attempts to sit down, to lie down, to creep. Every movement he makes inters him. He straightens up, he sinks in; He feels that he is being swallowed up. He howls, implores, and cries to the clouds, despairs. Behold him waist deep in the sand. The sand reaches his breast; he is now only a short distance from death. He raises his arms, utters furious groans, he sobs frenziedly. The sand rises. The sand reaches his shoulders; the sand reaches his neck; the face alone is visible now. The mouth cries, the sand fills it with silence. The eyes still gaze, the sand shuts them tight. Now the forehead decreases. A little hair flutters above the sand. A hand comes to the surface of the beach, moves and shakes and disappears.
It is the earth drowning man. (Victor Hugo)
Fear is the only thing in the world that creates itself. John, the apostle writes, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; because fear has torment.” He that fears is not made perfect in love” (I John 4:18). Sir Winston Churchill challenged a nation when he said, “I have nothing to offer but blood and toil, tears and sweat. We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be. We will fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds; we shall fight in the fields and in the streets; we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender”. During that same war, Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
The divine remedy is to cast out fear by a love made perfect. Brother T.B. Larimore said as he lay dying in his bed. . “My faith has never been stronger, my hope has never been brighter; my heart has never been calmer; my life has never been purer. I am willing to die today, or live a thousand years to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love”. David, the sweet singer of Israel wrote “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid” (Psalms 27:1).
A funny event happened recently. Ann and I had been sitting outside viewing the sunset. It was getting dark so we decided to go in. All at once Ann said, “What is that?” “What”, I said. “That creature over near the weeds.” “I don’t see anything, “I said. “It has green eyes, and it’s moving,” she cried in a fearful voice. “I’ll take my walking stick and go see what it is.”
“Don’t you go over there,” she cried. “I’m just going to see what it is.” “It’ll bite you Jack, it’s probably got rabies.” I was already on my way. Ann retreated to the screened in porch. “I’ve got it, Ann”, I shouted. “Don’t you bring that thing in here”, she bellowed. “I’m bringing it in,” I said with some pretended fear in my voice. “Don’t you bring that thing in here, Jack” Too late, I was on the back porch with it.
“Look at it, Ann, just look at it.” She gradually opened one eye and thus began one of the most extended laughing sessions we ever had. It was an old tennis shoe, and the green eyes were reflected light from the metal ringlets that held the shoelaces.
There is a paralysis of fear unknown with any other emotion. It creates panic and jams the switch board of the heart. It tends to destroy the ability to make critical decisions and causes the victim to react in altogether a different way than normal. Fear is the only thing that creates itself out of nothing.