Overcoming Your Fears

All of their lives, my two oldest children have had a huge fear of roller coasters and thrill rides.  They like the idea of going to theme parks, but in reality they are not much fun.  If you don’t get on the rides, there’s not much to do.  No amount of encouragement or even bribery could ever coax one of my kids on a big ride.  Now, I must admit, they got this fear from me.  When I was their age, I was terrified by thrill rides.  It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I overcame my fear- and this I had to do because I was a youth minister who needed to save face with the students I had brought to the park!  I discovered that I actually liked the rides and never knew what I was missing.

At the end of last school year, my son’s band took a field trip to Frontier City in OKC.  To my amazement, he hopped on just about every one of the rides.  It seems his peers had a power of coercion I did not!  Like me, he found he enjoyed the rides.  Last week we took a day to venture down to Six Flags where some of the really big thrill rides are located.  Again, I was surprised this time at my daughter’s determination to conquer her fear.  We started with some small roller coasters to get “warmed up” and then headed for our first big ride of the day- Batman.  Batman is an exciting ride where your legs dangle down from the car and you experience several high speed loops and corkscrew turns.

We loaded the ride and I looked at the kids- they were nervous to say the least, but determined- this was their first truly “big” ride!  I said to them, “Trust me. You’re going to love it!”  As we went down the initial drop and into the first loop I heard both of my kids screaming- in enjoyment!  I will never forget their excitement and vivid recollection of every detail of the ride as it ended and we slowly moved back to the loading area.  Of course, they begged me, “Dad, can we ride it again!”  We did ride it again and then moved on to the double-looped Shock Wave and many other rides.  What a special moment for me as a father as I watched my children conquer a fear in their life.  They were growing up before my very eyes that day.

Later that night as I reflected on the events of the day, I wondered if I had not experienced a vivid illustration of our relationship to the Heavenly Father.  So many times we fail to go deeper in our faith because of fear.  We’re afraid for God to completely transform our lives because the change will take us out of our comfort zones.  It may lead to questions or ridicule from those who know us, or even result in the loss of friends.  We’re afraid to go on a mission trip because of the many unknowns.  We’re afraid to teach a class because we think we are unable.  We’re afraid to talk to others about God for fear of their response.  We’re afraid to give of ourselves and our resources to the Kingdom because we fear God won’t provide.  We’re afraid of absolute commitment to Him because of the cost involved.  When you think about it, fear cripples our maturity in Christ.

A Pharisee named Jairus once came to Jesus in faith that He could heal his sick daughter.  On the way to Jairus’ house, news came that the girl had died.  Jairus’ new found faith in Christ was being tested.  Where he once had faith in Jesus for healing, he would now have to have faith for a resurrection.  Jesus turned to Jairus and said, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe” (Mark 5:36).  I wonder how many times Jesus would say those same words to us- do not be afraid, only believe.  To grow to deeper levels in our walk with Christ will require risk and cost to us.  However, we must not be afraid, but believe that God will provide and take care of the details.  Conquering your fears is often and arduous and exacting experience.  But once we have done it, what an amazing reward!  My kids discovered theme parks are much more fun when you overcome your fear and ride the big rides.  So it is in your relationship with the Lord.  When you give up your fear and trust God in whatever He is calling you to obey, the experience of walking with Christ becomes fuller, deeper, and much more rewarding.  How thrilled is the Father to see His children growing up before His very eyes!

What is God calling you to do?  What is your fear that holds you back?  Step forward in obedience and believe in God… trust me, you’re going to love it!

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