Fear can grip any of us when we least expect it. Carl exhibits his anxiety at times when nothing visible occurs. Just the other night, I found him leaning up against the counter in the kitchen shaking all over. I reached down to comfort him and had to take him in my arms to get him to relax.
I have known fear. When I go to a place where I haven’t been before I can become anxious and must fight off the feeling to move forward. Heavy traffic on the highway can cause a sense of fear that actually evokes physical symptoms such as an accelerated heart rate and sweating of the palms.
But the one time that I know that fear will emerge is when I am driving over a bridge. Every time I see a bridge on the horizon, particularly one that goes up and over a large span of water, my body goes into a fear mode. My hands begin to perspire and my pulse quickens to a point that it can sometimes be hard to breathe.
I am aware of the cause of this fear but it doesn’t change the immediate physical symptoms that take over my body. This fear originated when I was thirteen years old. A motor boat I was in flipped over and without a driver, the steering wheel was left in a turned position. The boat circled back and literally ran over me, leaving my back and arm in shreds.
This incident left me with not only physical scars but also psychological ones. It took years to understand the impact that this accident had regarding my fears. But no matter how many bridges I cross and how I tell myself that I shouldn’t be afraid, my body goes into a fear mode.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) states: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” This verse encourages me because I may never stop feeling the physical symptoms of distress but as long as I push through them, I know that I am accessing the spirit of God to fight off the fear that will surely come my way.
So when panic begins to grip me I know I can take hold of this Word and know that the spirit that lives within me is activated and taking action.
Poor Carl has no way of accessing this spirit of power, love, and self-discipline but I can promise you that when he trembles with fear, we will be there to pick him up and love him through it. As I think about it, isn’t this what God does for us when fear creeps in?