The High Cost of Fear

 

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Watching the gondolas swing back and forward in the wind in the French Alps, I opted not to travel to the top of the mountain to see the view. The tour guide told me how beautiful the view was from the top, but I was too scared to ride the gondolas. I told her that I had overcame one fear by flying to Geneva, Switzerland, and my motto was, “Conquer one fear per trip!” So, she told me that she would have to stay on the ground with me, as I was the only member of the tour group not going to the top of the mountain.

I felt bad, thinking, “It is one thing for me to miss the view because of my fears, but another whole thing for someone else to miss the view because I am scared.” I stood around watching people attach their skis and enter the gondolas without any fear. Then, two young boys, about ages 8 or 9, very courageously entered the next gondola to the top to ski, and I decided that not only could I not cause the tour guide to miss the view she loved so much, but that I was not going to be defeated by two little kids! So, I turned to the tour guide and said, “Okay, I’ll go. But, I want to ride with my back to the view.” This way, I could not see how high we were traveling.

I got in the next available gondola with her and several others, and every time it swayed from side to side, I just knew that I would be the first black woman to die in the French Alps! After what seemed like hours, but was more like 30 minutes, we arrived at a changing point and had to ride another gondola to the top. Finally, we arrived at the top. I tentatively stepped out, and the beauty that I saw stunned me. I stood at the top of the French Alps and just stared at their magnificence. I thought the view was the most magnificent view I had ever witnessed. My heart was stirred and my spirit was moved greatly, and I thanked God for the courage to get in the gondola. When I came down off the mountain, I was facing forward, so that I would miss none of its beauty.

To think I almost missed seeing the most wonderful and inspiring moment of my life, because of fear. I thought,  “Never again will I allow my fears to control me, to cause me to miss out on God’s goodness and evidence of His majesty.”  I would trust that God was with me, and know that He would not want me to miss out on my blessings because of fear and lack of trust in Him.

In Numbers 13-14, a generation of Israelites missed out on the blessing of entering the Promised Land, described by God as a land flowing with milk and honey, because they allowed their fears to control the situation rather than put their full trust in the God who had brought them out of slavery in the land of Egypt. Ten of the spies sent out convinced the people that they would be defeated by the inhabitants of the land, even as Joshua and Caleb tried to convince them that God was with them, and that He would go ahead of them and give them victory. But, they could not be persuaded; they could not get past their fears. Therefore, a whole generation, except Joshua and Caleb, failed to receive the blessings God had promised their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It would be 40 years later  when their children would enter the Promised Land and receive the blessings promised to them.

They paid a high cost for their fear, and fear still exacts a heavy price. Individuals miss out on the blessings God has for them, mainly because they are listening to the wrong spirit. In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul tells the young pastor, Timothy, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” Fear paralyzes the heart and spirit, preventing us from growing spiritually in our faith. We must hear the voice of God telling us, “Don’t be afraid. Be courageous and strong. Know that I am with you wherever you go.”

When I arrived home from Europe, my daughter asked me why I had taken so many pictures of snow! Of course, the pictures could not capture the splendor of the scenery or what it was like to watch people skiing as if they were performing a ballet.  I tried to explain, but there were no words sufficient to describe the wonder of God’s magnificent handiwork. That memory stays with me, and when I find myself afraid to attempt something new, I remind myself   there just may be a blessing waiting for me. I am not willing to pay the high cost of fear any more.

Father in Heaven,

     Thank You for the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. To let go of fear and trust You helps us move forward to the places that You would have us go, the places where You will bless us. I still remember how close I came to missing my blessings, for on the top of the French Alps, I saw the reality of You. No one could tell me from that day forward that You did not exist, for humans cannot construct anything so magnificent. I will trust in You completely, listening for what Your Spirit says to my spirit. I give you praise for how You keep blessing me! In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

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