Fear & Pleasure – which came first?

838843 As explained in previous article, Grandpa White Feather just spent time in Georgia with two of his Grandkids. He had stories to tell, and names with “meaning” to impart. But that’s the previous article. One of my sons is in the military and stationed just south of Savanah. I was in the military also and spent some time at Fort Gordon, so I have a few memories of Savanah and a beach called Tybee Island from 35 years ago. I was 27. Wow…where does the time go?

I decided as I began my trip home I would take the scenic route and visit Tybee Island. I felt God was drawing me there. Many things about this trip became a vision quest along with my original reasons for going. We slowly share them.

So as I arrived I discovered, as I was expecting, the place had evolved over the 35 years to be more commercial, more money oriented. I passed through an area of shops before reaching the beach. I was worried it had become just another crowded and hot beach, but I’m pleased to say it was not. There were more people there than used to be, but still wasn’t bad.

So I grabbed my coffee, chocolate chip cookies, journal, pen, book, and a jacket to sit on and headed onto the beach. I wasn’t there to swim. I was there to “remember”. I wanted to wade in the water, look for shells, be quiet in my soul, and remember 35 years ago. My young wife, and our first two of five children. Perhaps I would even hear God speak.

I wasn’t there long when something happened. I was sitting Indian style a ways behind everyone else, where the sand began to go up into some dunes. The cool breeze was awesome. The sound of the waves relaxing. Seagulls sailed overhead. Sand was hot and soft. A perfect beach day and I was enjoying it. People splashed in the water. The beauty of it drew you to enter in. Dive into the waves. Go for a swim, but then came the fin!

I didn’t see it at first. What I saw was a few people running towards the water and seemed to be frantically waving for people to come out of it. Of course, anyone out there could not hear the shouts. The waves were too loud. But the hand signals could not be mistaken as long as someone saw them, and they began to.

Sure enough, as we looked just a little farther out, a fin cutting through the water so plainly it could not be missed. As people saw it, they began frantically racing for the shore! I’m sure every movie of “Jaws” raced through their mind. Somehow this beautiful scene of peace, joy, and wonder had in a single second turned into a terrifying run for your life! Ever try running fast in water? Like your worst nightmare. How do things so suddenly change on planet earth? A peaceful drive while listening to music suddenly becomes a terrifying crash. So many examples could be given.

Fortunately for us on this day, in just a few seconds the fin did a curl and revealed itself to be a dolphin! And then another was spotted. Everyone was so relieved, but… you can bet your boots no one went into those waters with the same joy they were feeling before. If fear had not been there before, at least a little was there now. That little reminder of what else could be in those waters, and God spoke to me as I considered it all: Ever since the garden, this is the world man lives in.

We desire pleasure. We seek pleasure. We work hard all week so on the weekend maybe we can enjoy some pleasure. But our pleasure is constantly threatened with fear. This is the curse. This is our mortal world. But which came first? Fear or pleasure? PLEASURE!

God’s will for us was innocent and honorable pleasure. But we want more. God told me this is still our human nature to want more pleasure than is good, and so we cross lines we should never cross, then consequences begin to set in and the fear of many things, even our eternal destination. We live in a world of desire for pleasure at risk of consequences, and then comes fear. We desire to swim in the beautiful ocean, but there are also sharks out there. How far out should we swim? What is good and what is not?

Sex is good when devoted to a partner we truly love, not lust. A partner we’re willing to take on all the responsibilities of life together with. But how much lust has led to damaged children, or murdered children? You see, the shark doesn’t always just eat you, on planet earth. Our sins have real consequences. We’re not just hurting ourself. That’s another lie of the devil. We live in a world in which the ripples of our actions affect those around us. Many times those are people we supposedly love. We are all connected. When we sin we’re choosing to potentially hurt others.

There are godly pleasures, and plenty of them. God desires to bless us with them. When we live in God’s will, just knowing that diminishes all fear. Even if something bad does seem to come upon us, knowing we walk with God gives us a peace passing all understanding. But if we play with the “7 Deadly Sins”? We know the day will come when we harvest the bad seeds we have sown, and there is fear! Real fear! If you slow down long enough to think about it.

That is why most people keep running, keep drinking, keep drugging, keep sinning, keep denying, keep doing whatever they do to NOT THINK ABOUT IT. I will swim in these waters and not think about the sharks until I see a fin. But then…the day will come…when you see the fin too late. Those jaws are coming for you, and there is no escape. Your party is over, and no matter how much you scream, because scream you will, but it won’t change a thing. We push these thoughts away. Drown the pain. Avoid truth. Laugh and party. Deny reality. But it’s still real, and that day is coming.

This is the world so many people live in. This is not the fellowship of the white path in Christ, where peace passes understanding. Some of us are drawn to those waters. I do not try to explain that peace, because as the scripture says, it is a supernatural God-thing. Who can explain?

I watched them running that day as I sat peacefully on the shore eating my chocolate chip cookies, drinking coffee, and listening for God to speak. He spoke very plain and loud. I would not be afraid to swim in those waters if I decided to. I did 35 years ago and had a great time, my wife and I, and our first two sons, who were very young. There is nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy a beach and swim in the ocean, but it is the spiritual analogy we look at today.

I did not know today’s article would touch on the 7 Deadly Sins. So far we have only spoke of “Greed” (May 16 article: “White Wolf”). I’m not trying to hit that topic today, but we are still in those waters. What does it mean to walk the white path and have a good name? God has challenged me to teach the white path of a good name. What name would God give you, if choosing a name that fits?

I have a friend I recently named “Storm Rider”. (You see, Chief White Feather has power to do such things. Or so the story goes.) But he got that name because he wrestles with his emotions a lot, when things happen. Sometimes he rides the storm, and other times the storm ride him. It is a good name to inspire him to always ride the storm. Be the Storm Rider.

Another person I am about to name “Desert Joker”. People actually like him because of his dumb jokes. Somehow it works for him. (This is great fun while teaching spiritual points at the same time.) But this guy is the master of “dry humor”. Get it? It’s part of the way we fellowship with people. If you know someone well enough to give them a name that fits, and can help them, then chances are you’re having “Table Ministry” with them, not just a casual acquaintance.

So this is our message for today. Walk with God and know his peace! The fork in the road is ours to choose. Personally, I’d rather swim with dolphins than sharks. Call me crazy if you like, but if you do, I’d question your own common sense. And yes, you would not be one I choose to hang with. I would invite you to my path all day long, a path of God’s blessings, and a path of good medicine. But the sharks path only seeks to to harm; to steal, kill, and destroy. No thanks. Dolphins are great.

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