IN a children's book called Days with Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel, Frog is preparing to tell Toad a ghost story as they sit by the fireplace in Frog's living room. ``Toad,'' asked Frog, ``don't you like to be scared? Don't you like to feel the shivers?''
Of course, this is just a children's story. And the wonder that children feel as they drink in the new worlds they discover in such stories can be normal. But there's much that isn't so harmless in books and the media. Shouldn't adults, as well as children, avoid inoculating themselves with thoughts that promote fear?
The truths the Bible reveals about the one loving, all-powerful God show us there is no need to expose ourselves to fear. That would be giving fear an opening it doesn't deserve.
In the Bible we learn of God as our creator and the source of pure thoughts that guide us. God, who is divine Spirit, the one Mind, communicates to man through spiritual ideas, which impart true power, activity, and purpose. We read in the book of Jeremiah, ``I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.''
A commonly accepted view of God is that He's benign but distant. In this view, God's thoughts have no real punch. They're not a practical help. The truth is, His thoughts have all the power and purpose and immediacy of reality behind them.
Waves of fear do not have their source in God. Therefore they have no genuine place in man. They're not part of our true consciousness or selfhood as God's spiritual likeness.
Of course, it's believed that fear often has a valid cause and therefore must be heeded. And it's true that we shouldn't ignore the claims of evil. Yet we see that fear isn't valid when we take to heart the real meaning of the term the Almighty.
Fear always presents itself as a no-option thing -- something we have to experience because of who we are and because of circumstances. But because infinite, supreme Spirit and its spiritual creation are the genuine reality of existence, transcending what our eyes and ears call ``reality,'' we're always free to accept and benefit from God's powerful healing presence.
In The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, counsels the members of her Church: ``...keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them.... Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort.'' This is far more powerful than simply saying, ``Keep your minds filled with happy thoughts!'' Truth and Love are Biblically based synonyms for God, and thoughts that have their source in God have much more than human optimism as their basis. They have God Himself.
The idea of fear can present itself as intriguing or inviting. But this is a deception. Once Christ Jesus said, as Matthew records, ``Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.''
We can think of ourselves as children listening to the telling of a good story. That story is in the Bible, and it's about God's love and care for man. As we're receptive to God, our defense will be strong, and fear won't have a chance.