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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Courage Under Fire: Laugh at our Fears

by Marilynn Chadwick

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come (Proverbs 31:25 NIV).

Our daughter Bethany struggled with fear from a very young age. It would try to envelop her and hold a tight grip on her. This struggle with fear bothered her young, tender heart. We would read Psalm 91 over her again and again. She would memorize it with us, wielding her sword against the enemy’s wiles.

But David had a way of penetrating this battle with fear that eventually left her changed. Forever. In fact, it changed me too.

One of the things I love most about my husband David is the way he would always encourage our children to laugh at the very things they were afraid of. He referred to their fears as “fret flies.” With Bethany, particularly, he would sing this silly song about fret flies with her and get her laughing. As the laughter bubbled up, the fear subsided.

One time, when Bethany was very young, David challenged her to conquer her fear of riding ferris wheels. The anticipation of the joy and thrill of riding a ferris wheel finally helped her muster the courage to step out and take a risk. With Daddy cheering her on, she was overjoyed to finally defeat another “fret fly!”

I’m glad David is not a worrier. But that doesn’t mean he’s unaware of danger. He just doesn’t overthink imaginary scenarios. What’s more, he doesn’t spend needless energy looking back at the “if onlys” or ahead to the “what ifs” of life.

Like any pastor, he’s had to deal with all kinds of tragedies and emergencies throughout our years of ministry. But I’ve seen firsthand how his faith has strengthened him. I’ve often told him that the greatest gift he has to give others is his faith. And sometimes his laughter!

David is right. It is incredibly liberating to laugh in the face of fear. Laughter is a healthy way to lighten up. I wonder if the secret is to have such strong faith in the Lord that we can laugh at our fears. We may discover greater joy and courage than we ever thought possible when we conquer our fret flies!

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