Jumanji and Fear

I pose a question for all of you who have seen the movie Jumanji. By the way, this is a bit of a spoiler, so if you haven’t seen it, you may want to skip this one. How old were you when you realized that the same actor portrayed both Alan Parrish’s father, Sam, and Van Pelt, Alan’s dreaded enemy from the Jumanji world?

I was today years old. Ok, I feel like I should have caught on by now, having seen this film numerous times.

But isn’t it interesting that the game turned Alan’s fear of his own father into a character that was out to get him. Alan misunderstood how his father really felt about him, and that made him afraid. And isn’t that what most fear is? Just a misinterpretation of the situation?

I heard a pastor once say that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. So many factors lead into fear. Granted, some fear is valid. But in my case (and I suspect in most of your cases), 99% of what I fear is not valid. It’s really just in my head, me envisioning scenarios that almost never happen, or when they do, they’re not nearly as bad as my fear made them out to be.

I love how Alan finally stops running and stands up to Van Pelt at the end. He faces his fear. Sometimes, that’s what it takes. You have to stand up to your fear, do the thing that you’re afraid of, and name it for what it is. Some fear is of the enemy, the devil, and it helps to name it and rebuke it out loud.

The Bible says that God has not given us a spirit of fear– that is, a mindset of anxiety that dominates our lives — but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind. That is a resurrection power, a regenerated heart, and a renewed mind. It is the indwelling God, the Holy Spirit, that overcomes fear.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear” (Nelson Mandela).

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