IN THE SHADOW
Fear has stalked me my whole life. Since I can remember, I’ve been afraid. Afraid of heights, afraid of falling, afraid of getting lost in the grocery story, afraid of getting in trouble, afraid of anything fast.
Nicknames get attached to little girls like that…
I was afraid of people too. Afraid of being noticed, of talking to someone I didn’t know. Afraid of standing in front of people, of giving book reports, of giving speeches. Afraid to walk to my teacher’s desk to ask a question (After all, someone might see me!).
My imagination ran rampant. It ran my life, defined my days, and determined my future.
And my fears grew up with me.
As a teenager, I was afraid to walk through the courtyard area where hundreds of students gathered for lunch. Instead, I’d walk all the way around the school to slip into the cafeteria unnoticed.
As a young woman, I was terrified of staying alone at night. Every creak and groan of our old house shot a surge of adrenalin through me. Was someone there?
I wouldn’t drive alone to visit my little sister in college three hours away. The roads were isolated, after all. What if my little Volkswagen Bug broke down?
Earthquakes scared me the most. When I was fifteen, my family moved to California. Every few months, it seemed, the earth rattled and shook. The slightest tremor would leave me weak-kneed for weeks. I imagined the house coming crashing down around me, being trapped, alone. The rumbling of a truck left me scurrying for cover, an airplane overhead sent my heart racing.
But somewhere in there I gave my heart and life to Christ. I heard that He was my Father. That He cared about me. That He would take care of me. I read His Word and sang His songs and surrounded myself with His people. Little by little, fears fled. I grew more confident, composed even.
But earthquakes were still my undoing.
I remember sitting on the edge of my bed once, talking on the phone, when the bed began to wiggle wildly. I turned to scold my son (sure he was bouncing on the bed!) only to realize that the whole room was shaking! I could hardly sleep on that antique iron bed after that, every movement felt like that tremor.
I prayed for courage…
prayed for strength…
prayed for healing…
It seemed I was destined to be defeated by fear for the rest of my life.
Then it struck. On a mellow October day, the Great Quake of ‘89 rocked my world. Literally. As soon as it started, I knew it was a big one. Really big. Hollering for my kids over the ear-splitting roar, I grabbed them close as we huddled in a doorway. When it was finally over, we weaved our way through our broken glass-filled living room to the back yard. News from neighbors filtered in fast. Several tuned in to the emergency broadcast system since phones were out and power lines down. Hundreds of people had been crushed beneath falling bridges and buildings. Some were still trapped.
And that’s how God freed me of fear.
In that moment, when all our lives were completely and unequivocally out of our control, He stepped in. He took over. He became to me who He is~
El Roi: the God Who Sees
El Shaddai: the All-Sufficient One
Who can fear when He is so supremely in charge? When the Master of the Universe, the One who can shake and subjugate the very earth, is watching over me, how dare I be afraid? Suddenly my fear-filled life seemed silly, trite, and petty. Wasn’t it time I put my hand in His and trust Him fully?
“The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD.
He delights in every details of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will not fall,
For the LORD holds them by the hand.”
From my no longer fearful heart,