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    Fear has a new name

    Have you noticed? People have renamed fear and called it wisdom. Fear-based decisions have a different outcome than God-based decisions. A good example is a movie my Sweet Al and I watched while snowed in over the holidays. This film is called “The Zookeeper’s Wife.”

    It is a true story set in 1939 during World War II when Germany invaded Poland. The Zabinskis survived the bombardment of the city of Warsaw. Many of the Jewish people ran from the bombings and oppression.

    Jan and Antonina Zabinski owned the Warsaw Zoo. In order to protect his wife and son, Jan told them they should flee with the Jewish people. He would stay behind with the animals. Antonina begged him to let her stay and he finally agreed.

    Al said, “She should have left with the others. That would have been wise.” I said that would have been a decision made from fear, and fear tends to have a different outcome. He said, “The wise thing to do was to leave. Staying could have been fatal.”

    Antonina based her decision on an event that happened to her when she was young. Her family was killed, and she ran because of fear. She said to her husband if she ran away, she would always be running. She couldn’t do it anymore.

    Most of the animals were killed or moved to another city. But God had a bigger purpose for the Zabinskis. In the six years during the war, they rescued 300 Polish Jews from the Germans. They hid them in the empty animal cages, and they used a secret tunnel under their house to keep them safe.

    In the book of James, he writes, “Those who are wise among you, show by good conduct that their works are done in the meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13).

    James names two kinds of wisdom — from the earth and the other from heaven. Wisdom from the earth is sensual and demonic, and causes bitter envy, self-seeking, confusion and every evil thing in our hearts. This wisdom is acted out in fear and self-preservation.

    The wisdom from above is first pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. That wisdom is acted out in trust and truth.

    There is much confusion these days. Well-meaning people will tell us what we should do. It is the natural desire of our families and friends to protect us, but not necessarily using wisdom from above.

    David prays, “Lord, don’t you hear what my well-meaning friends keep saying to me: Run away while you can! Fly away like a bird to hide in the mountains for safety. For your enemies have prepared a trap for you. They plan to destroy you with their slander and deceitful lies. Can’t you see them hiding in their place of darkness and shadows? They’re set against you and all those who live upright lives.” But don’t they know Lord that I have made you my only hiding place? Don’t they know that I always trust in you? (Psalm 11:1- 3, TPT).

    Wise people ask: Does the path I’m walking lead to a place I want to go? Am I making a decision out of a place of fear or a place from trust and truth?

    Final brushstroke: God’s answer: Do not fear. I have provided a hiding place for you. There is a secret place in the Most High where you shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. You will be delivered from the snare of the fowler and the perilous pestilence (a fatal epidemic disease.) No evil will befall you and no plague will come near your dwelling. Don’t run but stand on God’s word.

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