Being Afraid


This blog is almost exclusively about tech, the web and social media in the church. But today called for something different.

I took my son Joshua with me to Lowe’s yesterday. He’s nine so usually he gets to wander a bit as long as he is in view. Yesterday, I wouldn’t let go of him. I kept my arm around him the whole time. I didn’t realize it at first. He didn’t mind too much, but eventually he got a little frustrated.

I am a white man. My son is black. I don’t think I am capable of loving anyone with a deeper love than the love I have I have for my sons. This week, a man walked into a church, a sister denomination to my beloved United Methodist Church. He sat there and studied the Bible with the kind members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Then, he took out a gun and killed nine people, nine black people. He killed them because they were black. I nearly threw up.

I am terrified. The thought that someone would kill my little boy because his skin is darker than mine. Being a father, there is enough to worry about. Life is so fragile. I desperately want my children to have a full and abundant life. I hate being afraid. But someone murdered people because of the color of their skin.

I am preaching this Sunday and for the next three weeks. I am filling in for a friend and preaching a short series on how we can love Jesus in a culture of fear.

Fear is an insidious evil that keeps us from being our best selves. It is also a weapon. That is what that young man had in mind. He committed an act of terror. It worked. But it will only work for a moment.

The scriptures teach us in 1 John, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.”

I haven’t reached perfection in love, but I am working on it. I am still afraid. I will keep my boys closer than usual. I will be more diligent. But more than that, I will pray and trust that ultimately, through the power of God, fear and evil will lose, and love will be victorious.


  1. Oh Will. I love you, I love the love you have for your boys, and most of all I love your love of God. I pray that God’s grace will cover you, Alicia and your boys in a peace that passes
    all understanding..

  2. Will, I lack 3 years being a century..and I have seen so much fear demonstrated in so many venues..Thank you for your expressions. Is it possible that you could EM me(or other means) your sermons for the next weeks? My prayers are that Joshua will not be infected with fear.

  3. I am so sorry that you have to bear the burden of fear for your children. that is the greatest fear of all. special prayers for you, Alicia, those dear beautiful boys!

  4. Will, you and your family will be in my prayers. This morning a mutual friend told us in Sunday School class that he had seen the coverage from Charleston, and thought how sad it is. Then he learned that his two sisters who are pastors were close friends with the pastors in Charleston. We never know how close these terrible things will come. Blessings, Barbara Jacobson.

  5. I am in tears this day reading your note. You will be in my prayers in your discernment and preaching these weeks. Tom

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. Our hearts ache with you and we pray with you for that “perfected love”. Will there be a link available to hear your sermons? Would appreciate hearing them. Grace and peace be with you.

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