[ The Trumans - Fear of the Unknown ]

Fear: It’s dreadful… and we all have an abundance of it! Fear can motivate us to accomplish great things, or it can cripple us at a moments notice. When we are afraid it can make us lose control of our actions and sometimes do things we wouldn’t normally do. The type of fear that we’ll focus on in this next story will be the fear of loss and how it affects Phoebe, Peter’s sister. She is going to be faced with a hard decision and we’ll see whether she can conquer her fear or not. So let’s join Phoebe now and see what happens.

Fear of the Unknown

“Phoebe”, called her mom, “It’s time to go, and we still have to pick up Celina!”

“Okay mom, I’m ready,” replied Phoebe as she burst out of the bathroom and rushed downstairs. “I’m always ready for shopping!” she said as they walked out the front door.

After picking up Celina, the three went to the local Mall.

“Alright you two,” said Phoebe’s mom, “We’ll meet back here in the food court area in about an hour and a half. That should be enough time for you to do your shopping.”

“Okay mom, we’ll be here,” said Phoebe as she glanced down at her watch to check the time, “We won’t be late.”

“Okay, Celina”, said Phoebe, “Where should we go first?”

“Well, we can browse around and then go back and pick up what we want before we meet your mom,” replied Celina.

“That sounds good. I only have 40 dollars to spend, and I want to get as much as I can. How much money did you bring? Must be a lot with that big purse you brought,” joked Phoebe.

“I only have a few dollars, but don’t worry, I know how to be a very thrifty shopper,” said Celina with a smile.

As they browsed in a clothes store phoebe held up two shirts and called out, “Hey, Celina, what do you think of this shirt? Should I go with the pink or the blue?”

“Definitely the blue one,” replied Celina as she searched through another rack.

“You know,” said Phoebe “you should get one too, that way we’ll match.”

“That’s really a nice shirt, and it would go so well with my khaki pants and skater shoes, but I had better not,” replied Celina, “I really don’t have much money.”

“Well, I’ll put back this pair of jeans, and buy it for you. You can just pay me back later,” said Phoebe, “I really don’t need them and we would look sooo good together.” she laughed.

“No, I’d better not. I’ll get it next time I come,” replied Celina.

“Okay, whatever…,” said Phoebe as she went to try on the shirt and the jeans.

As Phoebe came out of the dressing room she saw Celina by the clothes rack looking around the room cautiously as she stuffed something in her purse. Phoebe caught a glimpse of the shirt she had held up for Celina just a moment before. “She would never steal, would she?” she thought to herself.

“Hey, Celina,” Phoebe whispered nervously, “I'm ready to go.”

“Why are you talking so low,” asked Celina, as they left the store, “Is there something wrong?”

“Ummm… actually I need to ask you a question, Celina. What did you just put in your purse?”

“I… uh… um….what are you talking about Phoebe?” Stammered Celina, “I didn’t put anything in my purse? What are you trying to say?”

“When I came out of the dressing room I saw you put that blouse in it.”

“Alright, alright, I’ll tell you, but you can’t tell anyone okay.”

“Okay, what’s going on?”

“Don’t get weirded out, okay? I just wanted that shirt and I can’t afford it right now… no big deal!”

“You STOLE IT?” Phoebe said, horrified at the thought.

“Hey don’t look at it like that Phoebe. These companies make so much money; they’re not going to miss a ten dollar shirt. Just don’t say anything okay. I mean we’re friends right, and friends stick together.”

“Yeah, but you really shouldn’t just take it Celina. That’s stealing… and it’s WRONG! What if you got caught?”

“Oh, come on; don’t tell anyone, just this once… please?”

“Okay… I guess,” said a defeated Phoebe.

Phoebe had trouble sleeping the next few nights and had trouble concentrating in school. All she could think about was Celina taking that shirt. She knew that stealing was wrong, but was afraid that if she told one of her parents about it that Celina wouldn’t want to be her friend anymore. What should she do? She really didn’t know. What would you do in her position? Let’s see what happens.

A few days later Phoebe noticed that Celina wasn’t at school. She asked all their friends but nobody knew why she wasn’t there. Phoebe got a little concerned about her friend.

After getting home, Phoebe decided to give Celina a call to make sure that everything was alright.

Celina’s mother answered the phone, “Hello, this is Phoebe. May I talk to Celina, please?”

“No, I’m sorry, Celina is not allowed to talk on the phone for awhile,” replied Celina’s mom.

“Is everything OK?” Phoebe asked. “I was worried when she wasn’t in school today.”

“Phoebe … she was caught shoplifting some candy bars at the mini-mart last night. The police brought her home” Celina’s mom said. Phoebe could hear the sorrow in her mother’s voice.

“Oh, no, she’s not going to jail, is she?”

“No, thankfully it looks like the owner of the store isn’t pressing charges, but Celina is in a lot of trouble,” replied Celina’s mom. “She won’t be talking on the phone any time soon.”

“Well, will you let please her know that I’ll be praying for her,” said Phoebe.

“I will, and thank you for your concern, Phoebe. Bye.” replied Celina’s mom and hung up the phone.

Phoebe slumped down into one of the kitchen chairs. “I should have done something,” she thought to herself, “I shouldn’t have let her take the shirt in the first place, or maybe I should have told mom and dad about it. Oh, I feel so awful. I don’t know WHAT I could have done, but I should have done SOMETHING! She’s my best friend”

Phoebe needed to talk to someone so she went into the living room to find her parents.

“Hey mom, dad, do you have a minute to talk. I have some really bad news,” said Phoebe.

“What’s wrong, dear?” asked her mom.

“Well,” Phoebe said hesitantly, “Celina was caught shoplifting a candy bar last night, and well…. this isn’t the only time it’s happened… I saw Celina stealing a shirt the other day when we were at the mall. I feel awful and it’s been tearing me apart since it happened! I should have done something”

What did you think you could have done, honey?” asked her dad.

“I don’t know… I should have tried to stop her but I was scared that if I did anything that Celina wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore,” said Phoebe.

“I can understand that you were afraid to lose your friend, Phoebe, but let’s go get our Bibles and see if we can find an answer in Yahweh’s Word,” replied her dad. “I’m sure we can find some direction there.”

Lets look in Daniel 3. Here is the story of three young men, Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego. They were faced with the threat of a horrible death for obeying Yahweh’s law rather than men. Were they afraid when the Nebuchadnezzar threatened to kill them? The Scripture doesn’t specifically say it, but we can surmise that because they were human like you and I that they were probably terrified! Yet they answered with complete faith and courage. Let’s read the passage. “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the Elohim we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your mighty ones or worship the image of gold you have set up."

These guys weren’t just facing the loss of a friendship, they were about to lose their lives because they stood up for what they knew to be right! Despite the terrible fear of death they must have experienced, they still didn’t care what anyone else thought about them; they were going to listen to, and obey Yahweh! Additionally, through the example of their courage and faith, they also helped Nebuchadnezzar to see his fault in putting up the idol. If you would have come to us about Celina taking that shirt, she might not be in the mess she is in now. She might still be, but you would not have gone through all the self recrimination that you should have done something more. You can’t let your fear get in your way of doing what you know is right.

“Your right dad,” said Phoebe, “I should have come to you and mom earlier. Maybe it wouldn’t have gone as far.”

Her dad could tell that she felt awful, so he put his arm around her and said, “We love you Phoebe, but you have to remember: fear can control you, or you can control your fear. Lessons like this help us to build a righteous character according to Yahweh’s will.”

Well, we can see that Phoebe made some poor decisions, but made some good ones too. She was wrong to hide Celina’s shoplifting problem, but at least she went to her parents about it after she knew she had done wrong. Sure it’s tough to take a stand for what is right, especially with our friends. We don’t like making people upset with us, but we must always remember that Yahweh’s perfect will must be our guide, despite our understandable human fears. We cannot see the whole picture and cannot know the outcome of His plans in advance, but by facing our fear and doing what is right; Almighty Yahweh may do wondrous things! Besides, what is there to fear if the greatest and most powerful being in the universe is on our side helping us through our troubles... NOTHING!

Exercise: Read the whole chapter of Daniel 3. If you love to read valiant tales and stories of great wonder, then you’ll love this real life account of these three men and how they were saved from death by Yahweh’s great power.

Can you think of other Biblical characters that stood up for what was right, even in the face of terrible danger? One in particular paid the ultimate price for righteousness sake. Do you know who that was? Write down your thoughts and send them in to trumans@yahstruth.org.

Until the next dilemma… may Almighty Yahweh bless and guide you every day!