“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.” Joshua 1:9
In my life, I have known much tragedy, which has created deep caverns of fear within me. Two such instances greatly impacted the swelling fear I had, about leaving my little family, for the first time, to hike the Rocky Mountains. Just 5 years ago, my childhood friend lost her dear husband and sons in a hiking accident. He was a well trained military man with extensive outdoor knowledge and hiking experience. All the experience in the world couldn’t have saved them, however; they were caught in a rainstorm that caused flash flooding. This then turned into an ice storm causing them to die of hypothermia.
Further festering my over imaginative thoughts, was the tragedy we faced last fall, when my cousin, an avid hunter, and outdoorsman, was struck by a 90-foot pine tree that fell across his body. It left him paralyzed from the chest down, and unable to function beyond the capabilities of a two-year-old.
When my sister called and invited me out west I didn’t hesitate, it was a dream of mine. I was not prepared for the onslaught of fearful and over-imaginative thoughts that would consume my mind by saying yes. In mere minutes, I literally thought of every death one could possibly die, and placed my family in the scenarios. The mind is powerful, it is a scary place when you are there alone. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit stopped me in my tracks and whispered, “…take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). God did not give me a spirit of fear, but a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
I decided at that moment, I am not backing down. I am taking God at His word – trusting that perfect love casts out all fear. I went on that trip and stared fear in the face.
I left Denver Monday morning and headed to the mountains. It was a beautiful, sunny, 80-degree day. The weather, however, changes rapidly and without warning in Colorado. This is especially true in the Rocky Mountains, where the park seems to create its own weather patterns, according to rangers.
That day I would have to trust that God had me in the palm of His hand. I was headed up the mountain with 10 other people, a pop-up storm poured out its fury on us, sending 8 of the 10 back down. It hailed, rained, sleeted and snowed in a matter of minutes. We were only about .25 miles from the summit. I had a choice to make, let fear run me down that mountain, or continue forward and trust God as my protector. I chose to go on, casting off fear and intimidation. I had allowed fear to overgrow, it was time to prune the fear that cluttered mind, restricted my growth and bound me in the safety zone of my walk with Christ.
At some point I allowed my fear to become greater than my God. That day I let go, I let the God who is able to calm the storm, calm the storm that brewed in my mind, and oh the glory He revealed on that mountaintop. It wasn’t the view I expected, I couldn’t see more than 10 feet in front of me. While it wasn’t the view I wanted, it was a feeling greater than I ever could have imagined. I felt the presence of God holding me in complete peace as lightning flashed, thunder boomed, and rain and snow fell. I felt the weight of fear lifted and the presence of God upon me.
What is fear holding you back from?
What can you do to prune the fear, and feel God move?