Facing Your Fears

This is an article I wrote for our church’s newsletter last week. It was inspired by three things; the actual event, an inspirational devotion that a classmate delivered last Monday, and current events taking place in my family’s life, especially my daughter’s. I asked her to read it before I submitted it to the church because I don’t like to write about people that I love without their permission and approval. She replied, “It made me laugh, and then it made me cry… Thanks for always being that voice that tells me everything is going to be okay.” Which, in turn, made me cry.

I love you Kiddo. Always have & always will.

The View from the Pews

When our daughter was about 8 years old, the wife and I took her to Six Flags in St. Louis. As we walked through the front gate she informed us that she had made a decision. She had never ridden a roller coaster before and this was the day she was going to start. She had swallowed her pride, reined in her fear and boldly announced her confidence and resolve to conquer the scariest of theme park rides. I told her that I was proud of her and asked which coaster she wanted to face first. She raised her finger, pointed straight ahead and said with all seriousness, “The Screamin’ Eagle”.

The wife and I looked at each other, attempting to suppress the grins on our faces and the chuckles under our breath, and said “Let’s go.” I knew if she was truly going to go through with it, we would have to act quickly before she talked herself out of it. She and I boarded the ride together. The attendants strapped us in. And we began our 110 foot climb up the old, shaky, creaky wooden roller coaster. She still had that steely-eyed confident look as we slowly ascended, but that was about to change. As we plunged down that first drop at over 60 miles an hour it was replaced with a look of sheer and utter terror. She screamed and cried and held on for dear life.

As insensitive as it may sound to some, I couldn’t help but laugh. But being a decent father, I put my arm around her, held her close and tight, and told her we were going to be okay. Still, she still didn’t stop screaming until the ride was over, her feet were firmly planted on terra firma, and she knew beyond doubt that we were fine and that I had told her the truth.

Sometimes in life we have to face situations and obstacles that are beyond frightening. Things change. People come and go. And we feel like we are all alone, facing down the monsters or roller coasters in our lives that evoke overwhelming fear in our hearts – often because we have no idea what’s going to happen.

But God knows. He understands. And in those moments He wraps His big powerful arm around us, pulls us close to his side, and tells us that everything is going to be okay.

All we have to do is trust Him, and believe that He told us the truth.

Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine.

When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.

When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.

When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—

Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior.

I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!

That’s how much you mean to me!

That’s how much I love you!

I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.”

— Isaiah 43:1 (the Message, emphasis mine)

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