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When I’m home on Wednesday evenings, I haul the recyclable, green waste and regular garbage containers out to the street for pickup. It’s a job that generally takes about five minutes. But two weeks ago, the simple task took on an unexpected twist. I had just rolled out the third can when I noticed … the snake. It was about five or six feet long and was lying in some grass just off our driveway (fortunately headed toward the neighbor’s house … ha!).

My heart was racing as I grabbed my cell phone and called Debbie, who was inside the house. I’ll bet you’re thinking I needed her to come rescue me. Actually, I didn’t want to leave in case the snake crawled away, because then I would worry about where it might go.

When Debbie answered her phone, I quickly got to the point: “Grab the shovel and meet me at the street near the driveway. There’s a humongous snake in our yard!” Her response was much too calm. “I’ll be glad to bring the shovel, but the snake is already dead,” she said. “The gardener saw it, killed it and left it in the yard for the crows to take.” In just about 15 seconds, my whole perspective changed. The source of fear that had gripped me so strongly just minutes before was now easily explained.

During those moments, I understood how fear works. It paints a vivid picture, often with a huge potential threat. Without the truth, I’m left to become vulnerable and reactive to the perceived circumstances. I then move with assumptions instead of reality. Truth can liberate, while mere perception can immobilize.

I thought about Leah, the “forgotten one” who was unloved by Jacob. In the end, it wasn’t the “favored one,” Rachel, that God blessed beyond measure … it was Leah! He gave her a son, Judah, who would one day give rise to the Son of God. Living in the moment often leaves us empty-handed, lonely, fearful and frustrated. Living in the truth gives us a hope that exceeds understanding and a healthy perspective of trust in a future yet unseen.

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” -John 8:32 (NKJV)

By: Glenn Burris Jr., general supervisor

served as the president of The Foursquare Church from 2009-2020.