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What’s Got You Afraid?

By Russell McKinney

Mitchell CountyRussell McKinney Mitchell County


A boy took a shortcut across a certain field after dark. He was wary about the trip because his mother had warned him not to try to cross that field in the darkness. On this occasion, however, he was so late for supper that he decided to ignore her advice and take the chance.

When the boy got about halfway across the field, the wind picked up, the leaf-barren trees started making creaking noises, and he became frightened. Instinctively, he accelerated his walking pace. That’s when he started hearing footsteps behind him.

The sound of the footsteps made him stop in his tracks, but he was far too scared to turn around for a look. He did notice, though, that the footsteps stopped when he stopped. As he stood there listening for sounds that he was no longer hearing, he thought, “I’m just being silly. There’s nothing behind me. My mind is playing tricks on me.” Then he resumed walking. But as soon as he did, he heard the footsteps again. He tried speeding up his pace, but the footsteps matched him. Even when he broke into a full run, they did too.

Finally, after the footrace had reduced him to exhaustion, the boy quit running and turned around to meet what he was sure would be a gruesome fate. To his surprise, though, there was nothing behind him. As he stood there trying to figure out what was happening to him, he came up with a new plan. He would start up again with a brisk walk, but this time he would keep his head turned around so that he could see behind him. Sure enough, when he started walking, he heard the footsteps resume even though there still wasn’t anything behind him.

For several yards, the boy kept walking and looking back until suddenly the truth dawned upon him. And what was that truth? The “footsteps” he was hearing were nothing more than the sound that was produced by his corduroy pants when the material between his legs rubbed back and forth as he walked or ran. Yes, in the end, it was corduroy that had scared him to death!

Many things in life are genuinely scary, and I’m not for one second trying to minimize their threat. However, I think we can all agree that a lot of things that scare us amount to little more than corduroy once all the dust settles. We Christians must always keep in mind that Jesus has promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Matthew 28:18-20) and to guide us as our Shepherd (Psalm 23; John 10:11-18). Those promises stand good for trips across darkened fields as well as all sorts of other situations. So, Christian, let me encourage you to take the fear that you are experiencing right now and turn it over to Jesus. When you do, you might just realize that what’s had you scared amounts to little more than corduroy.


Russell Mckinney lives in the English Woods area of Spruce Pine and serves as the pastor of Roan Mountain Baptist Church in Bakersville.

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