I met Michael Myers around 1980 and can remember it vividly. My sister and I had gone to visit our dad. (Our boyfriends were with us.) He had the movie Halloween on VHS. We didn’t know anybody who could view their own movie at home! We watched excitedly as he inserted the large cassette into the machine and the movie began. We were immediately transported to Haddonfield, Illinois (the place Michael lived/terrorized) and were on the edge of our seats.
My dad took the dogs out at a tense moment. We were so engrossed in the movie we hadn’t even noticed he was gone. As Michael Myers readied to slash another victim, suddenly someone slammed their fists against the large picture window beside us. We all nearly died right then and there! After regaining consciousness, we could see my dad smiling sheepishly through the glass. Stinker!
A few years later, I was afraid of Jason from the Friday the 13th movie series. The original film was horrifying. The final scene is one that made a huge impact. A young lady was sitting calmly in a boat on Camp Crystal Lake, soft music played in the background. For a moment, I thought all was well. Shew! So glad THAT was over! Then suddenly, Jason came out of the water and dragged her down to the bottom of the lake where he had been living for years. Cue the scary music. It was the most terrifying thing I had ever seen in my entire life! I was afraid every single time we went to the lake for the next decade!
This week, because of Halloween, we saw lots of awful creatures: zombies, mummies, vampires and creepy clowns. They weren’t real, thank goodness. Most kids enjoy Halloween and the time for dressing up and pretending. Sometimes children are frightened by the masks and costumes-for good reason.
While many like watching scary movies, going to haunted houses, corn mazes and all manner of frightful things, most adults would agree that life can be plenty scary all by itself.
Just this morning, I talked to a woman whose mother was getting ready to have open heart surgery. She was very worried. Not long after, I spoke with a lady whose father needs a kidney. She was nervous , too.
I gave the first lady the Bible verse we learned in children’s church last Sunday. The verse I learned in Vacation Bible School when I was eight years old. The one I have to say out loud just before surgery or even a regular doctor visit. The Scripture that’s good when your child starts kindergarten, middle school, high school and college. The one I taught my kids and all kids I know. The one we can say again and again when nightmares come. The verse that can help any time of the day or night. “When I am afraid, I will trust in God,” Psalm 56:3.
God knew. He KNEW there would scary, even terrifying times in our lives. That’s why He put so many “Fear not!” verses in the Bible! (I’ve heard there are 365!) He told Abram/Abraham, “Do not be afraid. I am your shield,” Genesis 15:1. He told Isaac, “Do not be afraid, for I Am with you,” Genesis 26:24. At the Red Sea, God told Moses, “Do not be afraid, stand firm…” Exodus 14:13. There are at least 10 “Fear not!” verses in Deuteronomy. One of my faves is 20:3: “Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified…” The “do not panic” part is especially important. When trouble comes, the first order of business is to panic and start picking out funeral clothes for ourselves or those we love. Just being honest.
When crisis comes, if we can just take a breath, a big breath-even if scary music seems to be playing in our head. If we can focus on the size of our God and NOT the size of the problem. If we can remember that we are not alone…that God is with us! He can be trusted! Philippians 4:6-7 (NCV) tells us just what to do: “Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” God’s peace…so great we cannot understand it…that sounds sweeter than candy!
FYI: Now that I’m older, I’ve given up scary movies. Watching the news is frightening enough for me!
Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor's wife in Prestonsburg. Reach her at email@example.com.