I remember climbing the Zion National Park’s Angels Landing Trail (pictured above). The entire hike, I was terrified that my foot would slide on some gravel and take me over the edge. Possibly a wind gust would come and blow me over. During the climb, I hugged the wall and looked up. But, coming down, hugging the wall was of little comfort, as the whole panoply of cliff & valley almost sucked me over the edge. I’m sure I was feverishly praying the whole time but the fear was so great that I don’t remember what I was thinking. To this day, I have never fallen off a cliff (or even a ladder), but the fear of heights can immobilize me.
they assumed the worst
The Israelites were immobilized when they were caught between the Red Sea and Pharoah’s Army. Moses wrote, “They were terrified and cried out to the Lord” (Exodus 14:10 NIV). They imagined the worst and assumed that God could not take care of them. They wanted to take the first bus back to slavery in Egypt. No way did they want to move forward, as God had planned. Their imaginations were in overdrive. Fear (along with Satan) was having a holiday.
fear is real
What does God say about fear? The Bible certainly does not deny the existence of any things we can or will be afraid of. Jesus began his conversation with the disciples (as recorded in John 16:1-33), “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God… Yes, I’m telling you these things now, so that when they happen, you will remember my warning. I didn’t tell you earlier because I was going to be with you for a while longer. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows.
i have overcome the world
In this important last conversation with his students, Jesus had given them a litany of things that were approaching which would directly impact them. And then He comes to the grand conclusion: But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone… But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
god was there
When I was climbing Angels Landing Trail, I imagined the worst. I would fall to my death, my children would be fatherless, and my wife would be left a widow. None of those things had yet to happen as I began the climb, but I considered them as vivid possibilities. Maybe the wisdom of climbing the trail was debatable. However, no matter where I am, the Word of God commands: Cast all your cares upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will not let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22) God was there on the Angels Trail, in the midst of my worst nightmare. I still can’t believe I challenged that fear. Thank you, God that with every step into the unknown, You are with me.