I discovered at an early age that I was afraid of heights. As a child, on the Clegg side of my family, my uncles liked to catch little fellows running around, toss them into the air and catch them. Everyone seemed to enjoy those screams and giggles, children as well as adults. However, one day, when my uncle attempted to throw me into the air, I wiggled like a wet fish and screamed like a stuck pig. From then on they left me alone.
I hid my fear of heights by avoiding high places until Sandra and I married. We honeymooned in Panama City, Florida. One afternoon as we rode beside the beautiful white beaches, Sandra saw a sky lift. “Let’s stop and take a ride,” she said. “It will be fun!”
I swallowed real hard when I looked at the height. I really didn’t want to do this, but I also didn’t want Sandra to know the guy she married was afraid of anything. Love makes you do some dumb things.
So, we stopped, and I bravely bought two tickets. As we stood in line I could feel my heart pounding with fear. I watched as this little bucket came swinging down from heaven on this tiny cable.
Godfrey, I thought, you have got to be out of your mind to get into that little thing.
The bucket stopped in front of us. The attendant opened the door, and Sandra jumped in. I reluctantly took the seat opposite her. The attendant closed the door, and we went swinging into space.
Sandra was hanging over the side saying, “Look. It is so beautiful. You can almost see Mexico from here.”
But I was not looking. I had latched on to a post in the middle and was holding on for dear life. When Sandra realized I was not responding and saw me latched to the post, she asked, “What are you doing? Is something wrong?”
I said, “I have a confession to make. I am afraid of heights.”
She didn’t laugh for she saw the genuine fear in my eyes. I will never forget the words of comfort and strength she spoke. “There is nothing to be afraid of. God is with us, and if God is with us there is really nothing fear.”
Somehow those words dug into my spirit. I felt a calmness overcome my fear so that I could enjoy the ride–maybe a little. I was sure thankful, however, when my feet touched the ground.
Sandra never mentioned this incident again, but it really bothered me. I became aware that the fear of heights was not my only fear.
There are literally hundreds of phobias that confront us daily. According to Steve M. Nash, http://www.selfhelpcollective.com/top-10-fears.html, the top ten fears are: flying, public speaking, heights, the dark, intimacy, death, failure, rejection, spiders, and commitment.
As I researched the scripture, I discovered that one of Jesus’ major ministries was dealing with fears. He was constantly telling his followers, “Fear not.”
Although I haven’t counted, I’m told the words “Fear not” appears 365 times in the Bible, one for every day of the year. I especially love the words in Isaiah 43:1-3 KJV.
Fear not; for I have redeemed thee.
I have called thee by thy name;
thou art mine.
When thou passest through the waters,
I will be with thee;
and through the rivers,
they shall not overflow three;
when thou walkest through the fire,
thou shall not be burned;
neither shall the flame kindle upon three.
For I am the Lord thy God,
the Holy One of Israel,
The Hymn “How Firm a Foundation” has also become a cornerstone of my faith.
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said—
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not harm thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
The soul that on Jesus still leans for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
See Isaiah 43 and Hebrews 13
God’s Holy Word and the words Sandra spoke that day gave me the foundation for overcoming fear in life. “There is nothing to be afraid of; God is with us…”
To this I say, “Amen!”