Posts Tagged ‘fear’

When I got the call from Special Agent John Riley of the Drug Enforcement Agency who left a message saying he was involved in an ongoing federal investigation I wasn’t too concerned. I work for a chemical dependency treatment facility and it wouldn’t be the first time a client was under investigation. However, I got the shock of my life when I returned the call. Special Agent Riley, of the booming, intimidating and very rude manner was investigating me!

He let me know the agency had been tracking illegal prescription drugs shipped from outside the country to my address. I explained to him that he had the wrong person because I had never ordered medications online as he suggested. The conversation went something like this:

“Are you telling me you have never purchased medications over the internet?”  This asked in a very loud, disbelieving manner.

“No, sir, I have not.” This stated in a very meek, frightened manner.

“If you are not being truthful with me this will not go well for you, Cheryl.”

“I am being truthful. I don’t lie and I don’t buy medications over the internet.”

“Your name is Cheryl Thorp, correct?”

“No, sir. My name is Cheryl Dale.”

His immediate response, “Well it may be Cheryl Dale now, but I know you’ve used the name Cheryl Thorp in the past. When did you change your name?”

“Ummm – never – er – actually when I got married 45 years ago but it wasn’t Thorp back then either.”

“Your address is PO Box 2324, correct?” Much irritation in the agent’s voice.

“No. I have no idea whose address that is but it’s not mine.”

“If you are not being truthful with me this will not go well for you, Cheryl.”

I pull the phone away from my ear to keep his loud, demanding voice from damaging my eardrum. Then I get a flash thought – I have many strange friends who might play this type of joke on me.

“This is a joke, right?” I chuckle.

“I guess if you consider a warrant for your arrest a joke, Cheryl. I’m holding one in my hand right now.”

Gulp. “I swear I’ve never purchased medications over the internet.” I want to tell him also I’ve never shoplifted, smoked, skipped out without paying a bill, had premarital sex or folded over the corner of a page in my Bible either.

Finally Special Agent Riley stated, “I will do some more investigation on this, Cheryl, but I’m telling you right now that if you are not being honest with me it will not go well for you.”

Yeah, I get that, I mutter after he hangs up. I know I’m innocent but I start feeling guilty anyway. Then I get nervous. I’ve heard of innocent people being thrown in prison and forgotten for years. I can’t let that happen. Orange is absolutely my worst color!

I decide to bounce this off the Operations Director at work. I tell him the story and he falls out of his chair laughing. He starts to say something but breaks into another fit of laughter. Finally he chokes out, “You of all people?  Me maybe – but you? If this guy only knew!”

I bounce it off my boss who is reserved enough not to fall out of his chair when he laughs. He suggests I Google the number and verify the authenticity. So that’s what I do.

Total scam, people! If you get a call from Special Agent Riley tell him to take his warrant and put it where the sun doesn’t shine. Do not fall for his line. The scam comes when you admit that you may have at one time purchased medications over the internet. Or, you are intimidated to the point that you are afraid and just want them off your back even though you haven’t done anything wrong. The agent explains again about the warrant for your arrest, the prison sentence for drug crimes and the very large fine attached to the conviction. Then he suggests that if you want to pay the fine they will give you a break and not prosecute. Your first clue should be the suggestion that the federal government has a heart and is willing to give you a break.

How in the world do people live with themselves when they make their living taking advantage of others? I’ve heard so many stories of people being ripped off through some type of dishonesty. Where did the idea come from that you could lie and act intimidating to get people to do things that work to their advantage?

Actually, it may have come first in the Garden of Eden when a snake (probably looking and sounding a lot like Special Agent John Riley) lied and coerced Adam and Eve into thinking he was doing them a favor.

Scamming is not new, it’s just craftier and more technology enhanced today. Never has it been more necessary to pray for discernment. Snakes are out there doing everything they can to deceive. Don’t take a bite of their apple!

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1

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I had to share this overcoming fear story because it involves someone very close to my heart.  I have a granddaughter, Brinkley, who is one of the great joys of my life.  She is seven and one half and her life is a true miracle.  At four months she contracted RSV and the next ten days involved several ambulance rides, an air evacuation to a hospital with a pediatric intensive care unit, several days of coma and little assurance that she would survive.  Survive she did and miraculously was left with no lasting effects whatsoever.  There is no doubt that round the clock prayer made the difference. Everyday we are thankful for her life and the joy she brings.

Brinkley has always had an exceptional fear of loud noises.  We believe it was triggered somehow by that experience while hooked up to a respirator and many other tubes and machines.  Loud noises cause her extreme anxiety and we’ve had to be careful when we vacuum, mow the lawn, etc.

My husband, Gordie, began taking our grandchildren on Harley rides when they each turned five.  They started out with day trips and two of them actually took ten day trips with him a few years ago.  But, motorcycles are loud and needless to say, Brinkley has never wanted anything to do with them.  She wouldn’t even walk through the bike shop where the six machines we own are housed for fear one would start up.   Gordie has asked her several times about taking a short ride but finally gave up a while back.

This past Sunday evening just after Gordie and I returned from an afternoon ride Brinkley sauntered in the back door.  She was wearing a Harley jacket and a Harley vest passed down to her by the older girls.  It had been hanging in her closet for a couple of years.  She walked right up to grandpa and asked if sometime he could just take her on the bike up to the mini market (a distance of about 3 miles) and if she didn’t like it she could call her mom to come get her.

Grandpa agreed that he could do that.  She asked him when and he knew he’d better jump on the moment.  Her face showed a bit of shock when he said, “right now” but she called her mom to make sure she kept the phone handy. 

With eyes wide and teeth clenched Brinkley allowed grandpa to lift her up into the passenger seat.  Grandpa was smart enough not to start the bike first.  He hopped on, started the bike and before she could back out he moved out.  We watched them travel down the driveway, slowly, with little Brinkley’s arms clutching grandpa, her helmet pressed against his back.

We waited for the call.  Five minutes went by, then ten, then twenty.  No call.  Thirty minutes later we heard the sweet sound of the Harley coming up the drive.  Grandpa had a smile.  Brinkley, arms propped on the armrests in a very relaxed pose, had a grin bigger than her face.  She waved triumphantly as they coasted past us.  Come to find, after the first mile she’d begged for a longer ride.

She loved it.  She can’t stop talking about it.  And she has already negotiated a day trip with grandpa. 

She’s seven.  Most of us are a little older than that.  Yet, how many deep seated fears do we let control our lives because we don’t ask God to just take us three miles into it?  We look at the whole chunk of overcoming and lose sight of the fact that it always starts with one small step.  Brinkley realized that if the first three miles were more than she could handle she could quit.  But evenif that happened, she would still have been three miles more into the overcoming than before. 

I encourage you today to make the three mile journey.  You may find, like Brinkley, that it wasn’t as hard or as scary as you thought.  You may even end up asking God to go ahead and take you a few more miles.  There is something brand new and exciting beyond the stopping gate of your fear.  Check it out.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:3-5

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