My 8-year-old daughter told my wife that her tummy felt funny. She said it felt like a little man was running back and forth. “It’s OK, Sweetheart,” my wife said, “That’s called having butterflies.” My daughter had practiced for weeks and now it was almost her turn to play at her first piano recital. When her name was called, she sheepishly walked up to black and white keys, fluffed her red dress and sat down with just her tiptoes touching the floor. With big brown eyes, she looked over the sheet music on the stand, took a long breath as her pink painted fingernails began to play in a way I could only dream of.
I love maps, especially old maps. I like to pore over them and imagine what it was like being John Smith, Lewis and Clark, or Columbus not having a map to follow. Each time our family moved to a new state, I would get on Google Earth and look over the surrounding areas trying to visualize the terrain. There are old maritime maps that would set courses according to the currents, depths and islands. Many of these maps were highly detailed and adorned with whimsical mermaids and great billowy ships. Some of these maps are called “dragon maps” because, when the map area extended beyond the known oceans, a sea serpent or dragon would be placed on the map and it would read, “Here Be Dragons.” It was believed these beasts lurked “out there,” and ships and crews would be destroyed and swallowed up if they ventured too far into the unknown. It was only those sailors who faced their fears to discover not only there were no dragons, but also found new lands filled with great reward.
We all have dragons to face in our lives, and there are vast areas on the map of our life that have yet to be discovered. Our dragons may not be fire-breathing behemoths or revenging sea serpents, but they are just as frightening and can be just as dangerous. Our dragons come in the form of a wayward teenage child whom you are at your wits end with, a marriage that is holding on by a thread, an abusive relationship that has you feeling trapped and without hope, the loss of a job, a medical diagnosis that puts eternity much closer than you ever imagined or they can be as simple as a childhood piano recital that taught you that you are strong. These are the dragons we face every day. These are the dragons that many who sail through life turn away from and never venture forward to see what just might really be out there.
I believe God has a special place and plan for you. I believe this simply because you are here and God doesn’t make accidents. Whether you grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth or came into this world through a horrific rape, you matter, and God made you a masterpiece. You were placed on this Earth, at this time, for a very real reason. There are dragons that only you can defeat. There are people you can help and reach that no one else can.
Truth of the matter is, sailors turned back because of fear. Fear stops and turns many very capable people from going forward and seeing what God has for them out in the unknown. Many of you reading this are thinking this is silly or overstated. I would venture to guess if that is your mindset you are “comfortable.” You are OK with your job, family, car, house and health; you are OK with your life and have no desire for change. If you are doing the thing that God put you on the Earth to do, then keep doing that thing with all you have.
But if you feel a tug on your heart or you know there is a decision you have been putting off out of avoidance or fear, maybe today is the day that you put on your armor, pick up your sword and face that great and terrible dragon. You can face and conquer any dragon life throws at you as long as you don’t go alone. If you have accepted Christ as your savior and trust in him with your life, he is with you always through every storm and in every battle. Trust him with your dragons.
Rodney May is a pastor at Shannon Park Baptist Church. Insight is sponsored by the Tanana Valley Christian Conference.