Chaplain’s Corner: CXIX

“Fear and Growth”

More than six decades ago, an engineer from Boeing Company boarded a passenger plane driven by propellers.  After introducing himself to the man seated next to him, he began to talk excitedly about the project to which he had given much of his life–the development of the Boeing 707 Dreamliner, the world’s first commercial jet.  He spoke glowingly of the advantages that jets have over prop planes.


“So,” his new friend asked him, “have you flown in one of the new jetliners yet?”  “No,” said the engineer cautiously.  “I’m waiting a few years to make sure they’re safe before I actually get into one.”


Life is never going to be entirely safe.


Do you yearn for an existence in which you never experience fear, and never need to take risks?  But such a life would not be worth living.  The very fact many of you have chosen to come to Westminster Village was in itself a risk.  For some it was scary, knowing you were leaving your former home and in some cases community and coming to a whole different experience.  I am sure there was some level of fear–just the unknown of what lay ahead.


Fear and growth go together like bacon and eggs.  As long as we want to grow-as long as we’re willing to embrace change-there will be an element of fear.  We will always need to take risks.


Eileen Guder writes, tongue-in-cheek, “You can live on bland food as to avoid an ulcer, drink tea, coffee, or other stimulants in the name of health, go to bed early, stay away from night life, avoid controversial subjects so as to never give offense, mind your own business, avoid involvement in other people’s problems, spend money only on necessities and save all you can.  You can still break your neck in the bathtub, and it will serve you right.”


The decision to grow always involves a choice.  We must choose between risk and comfort.  The scary but undeniable truth is that in order to change and grow, we must renounce comfort as our ultimate value.


The world may not be safe.


But for those who trust God, the world turns out to be entirely secure.  “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”  (Deuteronomy 33:27)


Fear may be the traveling companion of change, but that doesn’t mean it gets to cast the deciding vote concerning your next step in life.  After all, at some point you’ll need to find your seat, buckle up and fly.



Ron Naylor, Chaplain