Fridays @ 8: Cicadas and Courage

It is that creepy time of the year, or should I say of the 14th year. Every 14 years or so a swarm of cicadas crawl out of their burrows and up onto trees, lamp posts, porch swings and slow moving children. They deposit their empty shells and emerge as red eyed, big headed, weed eater sounding winged creatures. Imagine horseflies on steroids. And for about 3 weeks they take over middle Tennessee. They are not that bad singly but they come in droves, hundreds on one trees, thousands in a yard, millions in the area. Literally so many that by the end of the season the gutters along the edge of the streets look like black snow has fallen because of the piled cicada carcasses.

Now I’m a manly man. I’m not afraid of bugs and snakes and crawly things. I don’t bat at eye at a bumble bee dive bombing me or a lizard tickling my toes. But there is just something about the sheer volume of the cicadas that get to you after a while. And by volume I don’t mean number. I mean noise, sound, constant humming, volume. They mass in the trees after they are fully hatched and begin calling. This incessant droning like a million tiny Suzuki motorcycles running all at once. It is a continual background noise even inside the house but outside it is so loud you can hardly carry on a conversation. This morning Jon-Mical and I went to the park and caught cicadas and threw them in the creek. He threw in the dead ones and I threw in live ones. It gave me some twisted satisfaction.

For me, the cicadas are a nuisance. For some people, (I won’t mention names but her initials are Doris Courtney,) it is 3 weeks of terror. She looks furtively out the window before she makes a dash across the driveway to the car. She jumps and jolts every time a leave blows inside the house. And she gets in bed at night and dreams that they have learned to turn the door knob in in the kitchen. She is a slave to her fear of cicadas.

Maybe you are not a slave to cicadas but for most of us there is some deep anxiety that keeps us from living free. Financial worries, health concerns, obsessing over our children, insecurity about our spiritual condition, these things can paralyze us or at the very least distract us from the joyful journey that God has placed before us. Fear is an awful thing. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Paul says in Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship (and daughtership.)” Knowing for sure that I am a child of God is the perfect antidote for fear. Remember when we were little kids and we would taunt, “My dad can beat up your dad.” There was some kind of confidence in believing that our daddies could whip the world. When I really embrace my sonship with my Abba Father I am set free from being afraid.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still human. The cicadas are still buzzing. I still sweat over the checkbook and worry about my kids. But I know, deep down inside, I know that my Daddy can beat up the cicadas. He created them for Pete’s sake. (I’m not sure why.) He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He has healing in His hands and protection in His arms. He “loves me with an everlasting love” and His “perfect love casts out fear.” That is enough to deliver me from the spirit of fear. Bring on the bugs!

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