Two young parents were at their wits’ end about what to do with their 4-year-old son. The little boy was absolutely terrified about “the monster” under his bed. He fought against sleep with every ounce of energy he had.
When he finally collapsed of exhaustion, he slept only a short time before jerking awake, screaming because of his perceived exposure to this monster.
It did not matter how often his parents showed him that there was nothing under his bed. It did not even matter if he avoided his bed altogether. Whether he slept on the floor, on a chair, or anywhere else in the house, in his mind the invisible monster under his bed was going to get him eventually.
Two child psychologists could not help him. Tranquilizers only prolonged the problem.
Now, the two weary parents were crying at their kitchen table very early in the morning as their little boy ran around in circles trying to stay awake and thus keep out of the monster’s clutches.
In an act of desperation, the boy’s father ran out to the garage and brought back a handsaw. “Son,” he said, “come look at what Daddy’s going to do to take care of the monster.” The boy and his father went into the bedroom and turned his twin bed upside down, with the bed legs pointing upward. With his eyes wide open, the little boy watched his father saw all four the legs off his bed.
When the father turned the bed over, the entire bed lay flat on the floor.
Without batting an eyelash, the little boy jumped into his bed and fell asleep within 30 seconds. For him, that monster was smashed forever. The little guy never had a problem falling asleep again.
Most of us have some sort of “monster” hidden somewhere that keeps us from finding the needed rest in the Lord. Whatever we genuinely expect to happen in life usually becomes our self-fulfilling prophecy. When we confidently expect good things to happen, good things usually happen. If we expect something negative to happen, we are usually not disappointed.
Like the four-year-old, most of our negative expectations have little foundation in reality. However, our negative expectations tremendously affect the people around us. Like the parents in the story, the kid’s “monster” affected their lives and caused them many sleepless nights.
God is ready to do whatever it takes to put our fears to rest.
Probably, one of the greatest of all human fears is the fear of loss. We fear losing our life, our loved ones, our job, our “things” that keep us going, etc. Jesus teaches us to transfer our values onto that which cannot be lost due to deterioration, a limited supply or the surprising arrival of natural or human evil.
He says, “Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”
Jesus is encouraging us to “let go” of the attachment to material things, so that if we lose them, they will not drag us down. Jesus is telling us to loosen our grip on what we are so afraid of losing. We need to understand that only the love of God is free from the power of corruption and loss.
If our expectations are only focused on those things that can perish, the fear of losing these things can paralyze us. If we are not experiencing life to its fullest as Jesus promised, then our hearts are in the wrong place.
Life should be exhilarating. Jesus told us, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” (Luke 12:34)