I can remember a time when I dreaded sundown. I was a kid afraid of the dark and the monsters that lived under my bed. Eventually, I realized the monsters were not under my bed but in my head. As an adult, I remember an incident that scared me beyond terrification. (No, it’s a good word; I didn’t make it up). Jean and I were married and I was a student at Samford University, in Birmingham. After classes, I worked at Berry High School. Jefferson State Community College had evening classes that met there. One of my jobs was to turn out the lights and lock up after their classes. Obviously, I was the last one to leave the building. The light switches were at the ends of the halls, but I had to exit through a storage-room door, in the middle of a hall. That meant I had to turn off the lights and walk down a long dark hall. That had never posed a problem before, but I had never seen the movie called “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” before either. Jean and I had scraped together enough money for a big evening out on the town. I think that consisted of a couple of Big Macs, followed by a movie. The movie was a true story about a serial-killer in Texarkana, Arkansas. The small town was terrorized in the 1940s by an unknown hooded man who killed young couples parked in lover’s lanes. He was never caught. With the frightening scenes from the movie playing fresh in my mind, I began that long walk down the dark hall that night. My fear turned to terror when I heard a crashing noise come from the room I had to go into to exit the building. I prayed... out loud... really loud! That was the longest walk of my life. When I finally made into the room, a cat jumped up and bolted out the door and into the hallway. He tested the strength of my heart, as well as my kidneys! I’m not sure how he got into the building or how he ever got out, but I quickly decided his freedom wasn’t my problem!
We are living in frightening days. If we allow it, we can be filled with terrification that will test our hearts and our faith. We must not allow it. As a toddler, my dad survived The Great Flu of 1918 and as a teenager The Great Depression. His generation knew hard times, but we are experiencing things most of us have never faced. We still don’t know what is ahead for us. We may fear getting pulled under the bed by monsters, or feel like we are walking down a long scary hall to face down the unknown. We are not the town that dreaded sundown, and we cannot allow ourselves to become a nation who dreads the sunrise of each new day. We must keep our faith and hold to hope. We can’t look at each new day as bringing us new problems, but as bringing us one day closer to the end of this nightmare. We don‘t know when, but this too shall pass.
Jesus’ disciples found themselves in a storm on the sea. Jesus came to them, walking on the water, and said, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” In the midst of our current storm, let’s allow His words speak to us. One of the most common phrases found in the Bible is “Fear not.” May we all stay safe, stay home, stay well, and stay in prayer. The monster will eventually jump up and run out. The storm will pass.
— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.