James Patrick Riley: Why Did The Lord Say ‘Fear Not’?

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 9.55.09 AMLast night was worry. Tonight, following the birth of my 4th grandchild, is joy.

I have a dear friend who battles depression. I understand her, because I do too. I come from a long line of worriers. My dad confessed that, past 40 years old, he never really slept much. He was in debt for most of his good years, in order to build a business, and that meant he worked very hard, took very few vacations, and would only buy his suits from JC Penny.

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But this wasn’t a constant confession with him, because he also knew how to see his way through to a better moment. My mom always told me, with her hand on my head, “it will be better in the morning.” I know they had their struggles, but they knew how to chart out little celebrations here and there. They knew there always had to be some bright, candle-lit party by the pool in the future, some music playing in the distance.

I share a lot of celebrations here, but there are early morning dark hours where I worry so much I get scared. The generator breaks and there are crops in the field. The bills are piling up.A government agency needs to hear from you. The roof — you idiot — needs to be replaced. You are behind on DOZENS of obligations.

I know my Lord told me to “fear not,” but I also know why He said that: we’re scared a lot. We’re just stupid sheep.

So if anyone is worried tonight, or fearful, take a deep breath and go stand by yourself in the kitchen. Imagine some celebration in the near future. It might be as simple as a book you always meant to read, or a movie you meant to see, or just a day away somewhere, with all cares put on hold.

Picture that celebration, and in the mean time, get to work. Before you know it, you’ll be watching your wife cry at the birth of a new grandchild and someone will be opening a bottle of champagne.

He LOVES you — you big, glorious wreck. Cheer up, you have the King on your side.

James Patrick Riley

James Riley is the owner/operator of Riley's Farm in Oak Glen, California and the creator of "Courage, New Hampshire," a television drama seen on PBS stations across the country. The father of six children, Riley performs "Patrick Henry" and supervises a living history program visited by hundreds of thousands of school children. He holds a degree in history from Stanford University.

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