Robert Frost wrote “Good fences make good neighbors” as his neighbor’s response to him in the poem “Mending Wall”. Frost had wished there were no separations, no boundaries behind which we needed to hide. Yet all of us do need some fences in our lives. Some of our fences were built by our families to protect our lawns and gardens from trampling feet. Most of us are happy to feel the protection of solid walls to protect our savings in the bank. Who doesn’t appreciate and the line of protection we have when we call 911? In this world we will always need fences.
But in the book of Proverbs King Solomon warns us about another kind of fencing.
The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe Proverbs 29:25
This is the mental, emotional and spiritual fencing we build because of fear. We erect a fence of words to protect ourselves from what others might think. We run behind a wall of busy holiday preparations to hide from what our family might say. We lean on our position in the community to protect us from what others might do.
But while each of these barriers which we hide behind seems acceptable and yes, even good in our eyes, God tells us that they act as a snare in our lives.We might say that God just isn’t being reasonable. But in fact it is we who are missing on how the snare works. In real life , a snare will catch a bird or small animal only when it is hidden and placed in exactly the path which they are planning to take.When once their foot steps into the noose they discover that they have seen the snare too late!
I stopped this week to consider my own way of talking. I had to confess that sometimes I stretch facts because I am afraid of what others might think if they knew the truth. There have been times when I have omitted something in a document because I feared what might happen if that detail were found out.Or I have failed to call and make up with a friend over an offense which I committed because I was afraid of what they would say. These have all been snares in my life! I had never seen them that way, but my loving Father in heaven did! He came and brushed back the leaves hiding the snares and asked, “What are you afraid of?”
The good news for all of us is that the second half of the verse is God’s unfailing promise. “BUT whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe!” We do not have to be afraid! If instead of worrying about what my friends think, what my neighbors say or what consequences I face I say, “But I trust the Lord” If I were half as concerned about what God might think, say or do as I was about others I could discover the glorious liberty of His true freedom. God will set us free from our snares. God will protect us and will give us safety even in the face of our greatest fears!