Recently, I visited Busch Gardens with some friends. I'm all for 3D rides and "experiences" that are at most theme parks, so I was gung-ho and ready to take on the day. I planned to ride nearly everything in sight. But to my chagrin, I found that most of the rides were roller coasters. Let me be clear: I do NOT do roller coasters! I'm definitely not what most would characterize as an adventure seeker; by no means am I an adrenaline junkie. WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE WARN ME???
Not far into the day, I found myself standing at the foot of the "Loch Ness Monster," sweating bullets and totally and completely afraid. I'd only ridden a roller coaster once when I was 11 years old and I hated it. I hated that feeling of being out of control of my own body as it flew through the air. I assumed that in all those years nothing much had changed.
So, everyone forced me to go. While waiting in that line, I begged and begged for them to just let me back out. They didn't, of course. So I climbed in and prayed (literally, begged Almighty God to spare my life!)
I know. Compared to the things we face on the day to day, the "Loch Ness Monster" is no biggie. However, fear is. There are so many ways in which we encounter real fear. That job you want, but you're convinced that you just aren't right for. The mortgage is due and you haven't figured out where the cash is coming from. Stepping out in faith to fulfill God's calling on your life is a really big deal. We face so many things more often than we'd care to admit.
For God hath not given the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
It is so easy to stand before our fears and allow them to loom over us. Mocking us and making us feel so insignificant and small in the face of their seeming insurmountability. In the face of such fear it is easy to forget who we are and the greatness that resides in us because we have submitted our lives to Christ.
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 NIV
We can't have more faith in the strength of our fear than the strength of He who is greater than our fear. It's not God's will, in the abundant life He promises us, for us to be controlled by fear. Not fear of money woes, not fear of our job situations (or lack thereof), not fear of our weaknesses, not fear of the unknown. We must stand boldly upon His promises in the Word. Stand firm knowing that He is who He says He is, no matter what circumstances we may be facing. We can't succumb to our fears because fear contradicts real faith.
Years ago, there was a song that a member of my church would sing from time to time:
God's got it all in control,
He's got it all in control.
He put that reassurance way down deep in my soul,
God's got it all in control.
The lyrics are simple enough, I know, but truly believing it is another matter. Knowing, in your spirit, that God is greater than the winds and rains around you, is often easily forgotten. But don't be afraid to to look away from the fear that stares you in the face, and look up at He who holds the reigns to our lives.
I'm glad I didn't chicken out. I went ahead and boarded the roller coaster, even though I just about died after that first drop! I was dealing with a 114-foot drop and speeds up to 60 mph!!! (If any of those other riders hadn't heard of Jesus before, they heard of Him that day. An unconventional witnessing tool, I know) Don't get me wrong, I rode no more roller coasters that day, but I was glad that I stood up to my fear. I reminded myself that it's not bigger than me.
Remember who you are because of who you serve. When you do, the crazy circumstances of life
that usually earn our fear, suddenly seem to shrink and lose the bass in their
voice. So ride the roller coaster (every
once in a while, at least).
Shari Grant is a Registered Nurse in South Florida, where she was raised in a (very!) Jamaican home. Some of the loves of her life are words (both reading and writing them) and missions work. She enjoys spending time with friends and family while living for a good laugh - one that makes her belly ache and her eyes water. Her bottom line goal in life is to make the Lord smile and maybe even serve Him up a chuckle from time to time, too.