Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Being afraid is a terrible feeling. I am not sure if there is anyone who actually likes being terrified. We feel so out of control in a fearful situation. We desperately want to get away and return to a normal, controllable point in our lives.
In an older post, I talked about my fear of flying but I never told the story of how that fear started. Like with most fears, there is a triggering event that happens. Once the trigger event happens, we try to do anything to avoid it from happening again. So when we find ourselves in a similar situation, the fears flood back to our mind and we look for our escape route.
It was a dark and stormy night. OK, no it wasn’t but I wanted to add to the drama and to keep you reading. Growing up, I spent several weeks most summers in Northern Ireland visiting my grandparents and aunts and uncles. A lot of my visits were during the worst of “The Troubles.” It was not uncommon for us to be awoken during the night to the sounds of bombs exploding somewhere in the city. The area where my family lived was on the opposite side of town from most of these events but we could still hear and feel them. It is amazing to think back on those times and how normal it all seemed to me. I was not afraid during such times because it was so normal. Someday I will write more about the times we were evacuated from places because of a bomb threat only to stand outside and watch it get blown up.
Back to the my event. We were traveling home from one of these summer visits. I was about 10 so probably around 1972. OK, quit doing the math, I am now 53. Direct flights to Belfast were not available because of the troubles and most flights required a layover in London. Even back then, Heathrow was a zoo. Mom decided we would try a different route and fly through Prestwick in Scotland. Going this route would also allow us to see some of our Scottish family. It was an hour flight. About halfway through, we heard a loud noise and then dropped about 10,0000 feet in altitude. Mom and I were very scared. Several people on the plane passed out and flight attendants quickly brought around smelling salts. We landed without further incident. We parked away from the terminal and we were not allowed off the plane for a period of time. Our seats were at the front of the plane. Scotland Yard boarded and we heard them discussing the potential of a small bomb in the luggage compartment that had exploded and caused our drop. When we finally got off, my uncle was there to meet us. My uncle went to get our luggage for us because we were so upset. Our luggage tags had my mom’s name on them so the police stopped him to question him since it was not his luggage. Eventually that all was worked out and we spent the night at my uncle’s house. As we drove to my uncle’s house, I remember crying and saying I never wanted to go in an airplane again. The fear had become rooted in my soul.
I have flown many times since that day. Much of that flying time was spent in fear. But I always knew that I could not stop flying because of my fear. It took me many years to realize that my fears needed to be given over to the Lord because He was the only one that could help me. I love the verse in Joshua that I have posted at the beginning of this blog. After so many years of struggling with my fear, I finally understood that God protected me that day in 1972 and He has protected me every day since then. God is with me everywhere I go and He understands my human fragility. My fears accomplished nothing in my life other than to hold me back. God has a plan for my life and I have to trust Him with those plans. Some day, I will die but that too is in God’s hands. My job here on earth is just to trust the Father and do the part He has assigned to me. I need to turn any and all fears over to Him and continue to do the work He has assigned me to do.
What are you afraid of? What is fear holding you back from following your calling? With much prayer, you can slowly start handing over those fears to the only one that can help you truly change. Imagine what you can do once you have allowed God to remove those fears from your life. Jesus is ready and waiting to help free you from your worst fears. He can be trusted to be there every step of the way. A good reminder is from the song lyrics from Jesus Culture; “Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.”
May the Lord Bless you and keep.
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”