Now I’m looking at one of my favorite books, one that I’ll keep; A Fly Went By, by Mike McClintock with illustrations by Fritz Siebel. First published in 1958, it is still available, which says something about its staying power. I love the rhyme and rhythm of the book, wonderful for reading aloud. It also lends itself to profitable instruction, beginning with:
“I sat by the lake. I looked at the sky, and as I looked, a fly went by.
“A fly went by. He said, “Oh, dear!” I saw him shake. He shook with fear.”
And the story rockets from there. A fly running from a frog who is running from a cat who is running from a dog who is running from a pig who is running from a cow who is running from a fox who is running from a man…and what is the man running from? Well, I can’t be a spoiler and tell you, now can I? Everyone running from fear, yet at the end there is nothing to fear – but there is someone who needs help.
Fear drives so much of life, and yet what people ought to fear they don’t, and what they often fear they shouldn’t. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom – no doubt about that…yet few fear the Lord. People fear what others will think, they fear they won’t measure up to the world’s expectations, they fear they won’t look just right or have just the right things or be thought important or attractive or…well the list goes on doesn’t it?
People fear each other, sometimes with good reason, but most times with no reason at all other than we may look different or talk with different accents or prefer different foods or music or dress. We fear the unfamiliar. We fear failure and therefore often don’t move out of our comfort zones.
Jesus came to destroy the one fear that pervades humanity – the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14 – 18; 2 Timothy 1:8 – 12); He did this by conquering death, by dying for us and rising for us. When we come into a relationship with Jesus Christ we share in His victory over death and the portal of death is transformed into a portal of eternal life in the presence of God. Followers of Jesus Christ need not fear death – Christ awaits us as we pass through its portal. A Day will come when death in all its forms will be manifestly defeated (1 Corinthians Chapter 15).
And yet…and yet…there are those who ought to fear death, they are those who choose to continue living life outside of Jesus Christ, outside of a relationship with God – they live in denial of God, of their sinfulness and rebellion, and of the eternal trajectory which they are on – separation from God. If this sounds harsh to you, it is no more harsh than the observation that people on an airplane ought to fear if they have engine failure at 30,000 feet – their fear ought to motivate them to do something.
Some people fear what they ought not to fear; others do not fear what they ought to fear.
I need to go now, I just saw a fly go by and want to see if it’s running from a frog.