The following is a selection from my devotional Pebbles: 31 days of faith-enriching parables.
A husband and wife had a child, and because they were good, they raised their child to be good as well. The child grew up loving his parents, and because he loved them, he wanted to obey them and do right
When the child asked to play with his friends, his parents agreed, but gave him a warning.
“Don’t play under the bridge where the brothers Fear and Terror play. They are nothing but trouble.”
The child obeyed, avoiding the bridge even though some of his friends liked to play there. But one day, his friends took him to the bridge to meet Fear and Terror. The bridge’s dark underbelly reminded the child not to go there but turning away would mean being ridiculed by his friends. Instead, he followed them.
To his surprise, Fear and Terror were friendly. Out of the shadows, they loomed intimidating at first, but they gave him high fives and put their arms around his shoulders saying things like “Welcome, Friend!” and “We’ve been wanting to meet you!”
The child relaxed a bit. As long as he was careful, maybe he could hang out with his new friends. When he felt like leaving however, Terror grabbed hold of him.
“Don’t go yet!” he’d say. And when his parent’s warning began to ring in his ears, Fear would start another game and beg him to play.
The brothers began to dare the child’s friends to do dangerous things, and one by one, the friends complied even if it left them miserable and in tears. When Fear and Terror met his eyes, the child froze.
“Your turn!” said Fear. “See that waterfall? Let’s see you jump off it!” He pointed to a place where the water under the bridge spilled onto rocks and a shallow pool below.
“No, I don’t want to do that,” the child said.
“We thought you wanted to be our friend. You’re not a friend, you’re a coward,” Fear guilted.
Before the child could answer, the brothers picked him up and carried him to the waterfall. His heart pounded when they set him down, feet in the water, right on the edge.
“If you don’t jump, we’ll push you!”
The child didn’t know what to do. He looked around for a way out, but even his friends couldn’t save him. Determined not to jump, the child turned back and faced Fear and Terror. Before they could push him over, he lunged at them, kicking, screaming, flailing, and splashing them. They only laughed at him, shoving him into the water. Then they picked up stones and threw them at the child. He cried out in pain.
A commotion of footsteps stomped through the water. The child heard the angry shouts of his mother and father. For the moment, he thought they were yelling at him, but then he felt his mother scoop him into her arms and saw that his father took Fear and Terror by the collar and hauled them away.
Though his mother was silent, she dried his tears and tended his cuts and bruises. When his father returned, the child bowed his head in sorrow. The father’s face was stern at first, but then bent down and kissed his child’s head.
From then on, the child stayed away from the bridge where Fear and Terror played.
Inspired Verses: Isaiah 35:4, Psalm 112:7-8, 2 Timothy 1:7
- What is the difference between Fear and Terror?
- When did the child exercise a healthy fear?
- Fear and Terror are difficult to avoid, but what are some ways you can steer clear from that bridge?