This is a tale of a pirate who sailed the seven seas. His name was Captain Dread (No relation to the Judge). The reason he was called Captain Dread was not because people were filled with horror and dread at the thought of his very name as you might think, no, it was because he himself dreaded failure. He lived in fear of the dread of failing. He was scared windless, to use a sailing term, of failing.
Now, fortunately for him he had a friend. A good friend. A good Christian friend who also happened to be a Pirate. I know being a Pirate and a Christian would seem to be a contradiction in terms, what with all the pillaging and maiming and killing they do – Pirates not Christians – but this one seemed to make it work, mainly by not doing any of those things I just mentioned but rather by sailing the high seas, wearing the outfit and owning a parrot. His name was Captain Bob. Not a scary pirate name I know, which sort of sits well with him, because being a Christian pirate he wasn’t particularly scary. The reason he got his name was because he never attacked another ship or raided a port and therefore his ship tended to just bob around in the ocean. Anyway, more about Captain Bob later, lets get on with the story of Captain Dread.
This tale starts on a Tuesday, about 3 o’clock in the morning, and Captain Dread was in his favourite pub – The Long John inn, which was named after the pirate not the underwear. He was sat in the corner considering how he might pull off a particularly difficult and daring raid on a ship named Fear.
“Could this ships name be a coincidence” he asked himself as he sat planning the attack. He had started to realise it was much more difficult job than anything he had done before. The more he thought about it the more he came to think that this could be the one he would fail at.
“Shiver me timbers” he exclaimed, “Ow be I going to steal the treasure from this ship named Fear? Ow can it be done. I am scared I am going to fail. Fail, FAIL! Aharrgghh” He decided he needed another tot of rum. He stood and took one step towards the bar, but his legs gave way with the fear and he fell to his knees.
“Arrgghhh, now me knees be shivering loike timbers”.
Suddenly a hand reached out and he felt two strong arms lift him back onto his bench. “Thank ee Captain Bob” said Captain Dread.
“Always happy to help” said Captian Bob in his clear crisp and it has to be said stand outish posh voice.
“You are elpful” replied Captian Dread. It should be pointed out that one of the reasons Captain Bob was tolerated by the other pirates was because he was helpful. He would often be found carrying drunken sailors back to their ships earli in the morning.
“Can I get you another tot of Rum my old sea dog?” Bob asked. Another reason he was tolerated was that he could always be relied on to buy a round.
“Argghh you can that me hearty” said Dread and Captain Bob went to the bar to get a drink.
He came back with a bottle of the stuff and poured Dread a grogg into his glass. Captain Bob sat down at the table and asked “What seems to be the problem Dread?”
“It’s the Fear” he exclaimed “I don’t know how to defeat it?”
Captain Bob had been waiting for a moment like this for a long time. Here was a pirate confessing that he was scared, and asking for advice and help, “Fear you say. Well there’s one sure way to conquer fear,” Captain Bob explained.
“Ow be that” shouted Dread in disbelief that Bob would know how to conquer a ship of any kind.
“With Love” said Bob enthusiastically.
“Yo ho ho, Yo ho hohohohoho” laughed Dread and then spluttered “You don’t understand, I want...”
“Oh but I do understand” interrupted Bob who was keen to get the pirate to open up to his feelings. He decided to try to explain things in terms the poor ignorant pirate would understand “I do understand. Look it at this way. To conquer Fear you need love. Use love to shoot down the masts of fear with the cannons of positive thinking. Take out it’s captain with the pistol of kindness and fight your way to the treasure with the sword of peace.” Captain Bob was quite pleased with the symbolism in these words and decided to allow himself a smug smile.
Captain Dread sat there with his mouth open “I ave no idea what you be on about” he said.
Bob was a little deflated. “Do you want to conquer Fear?”
“Yes I wanna conquer the ship named Fear”.
“There’s a ship named fear?” questioned Bob
“Yes and I want to conquer it, but I am scared I will fail!” silence fell. Dread realised what he had just said and blurted out “oh, err, I’m not scared.”
“You just said you were”
“No I didn’t”
“Yes you did”
“No I didn’t” This went on for a time until suddenly Captain Dread caved in and broke down and cried out “oh alright I am scared. Scared of failing. What will people say about me if I fail. I will lose everything. I am a pirate and I am so very scared” Captain Dread sat there with obvious panic all over his face.
Captain Bob paused and then looked long and hard into the eyes of Dread and said “God loves you. He is with you. He loves you no matter what happens. Perfect love like that can drive out the fear in your heart”.
Dread stared back at Captain Bob. He slowly lowered his glass back down on to the table “God loves me?”
“Yes he does” replied Bob
“God loves me no matter what” Said Dread
“Absolutely” confirmed Bob
“I’ve no need to be afraid” said Dread.
“No reason whatsoever” said Bob.
There was a short silence and then “Thank ee, matey” and Dread walked out the bar.
Bob sat back in his chair allowing the smug smile to return on his face. Then it dawned on him and again the smile disappeared. Bob had helped Dread meet with God and he had helped encourage him to have no more fear of failure. The bad news was now Dread had no fear whatsoever and he could attack and pillage and steal and murder with nothing to hold him back. What had he done! Bob jumped up and ran out of the pub looking for Captain Dread. He was gone.
As it turned out there was nothing for Bob to fear. Captain Dread had conquered his fear of failure but he failed nonetheless to conquer the ship named Fear as it was 3 times the size of his frigate. He was sunk within seconds of engaging in combat. Dread somehow survived and managed to swim to a remote island where he lived out his days in peace with the natives.
So the moral of this tale is. Well actually there are several tenuous ones you could clutch on to…
Firstly, it is better to love your enemies than attack them - especially if they are 3 times the size of you.
Know this, that no matter what happens - God is in charge.
Next, when you help someone meet with God don’t leave the job half done, don’t sit back, take them under your wing and help them some more.
And most of all, know fear can be conquered by the knowledge of the love of God.