Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. –Joshua 1:9
Standing thirty feet above me, the young girl was seized with fear. The Ropes Course at camp was one of the highlights of the week for many campers, and this particular camper came ready to conquer the course. However, fear crept in at thirty feet and immobilized her. It didn’t matter that she was securely fastened to a harness, or that she was wearing a helmet, or that many others had successfully gone before her. All she knew is that she was balancing thirty feet above the ground on a wire that was no more than 3 inches in diameter. Her legs locked up, her muscles began to shake and she kept repeating the words, “I can’t do this, I can’t do this.”
Fear has incredible power. It can overtake people and stop them in their tracks, both in the body and in the mind. Blood vessels constrict, heart rate increases, breathing becomes shallow and our senses become enhanced. But, when fear is given permission to overtake a person, it often causes us to stop short of something amazing.
Looking back up at the young camper standing, she had made it to the final challenge: the zip line. On the platform, fear began creeping back in. The only way down now was to jump; but everything in her body screamed the opposite. With words of encouragement from the Rope’s leaders, fellow campers, and adult sponsors, she finally closed her eyes and jumped! It was an exhilarating moment. She flew down the zip line exhausted, challenged, yet, victorious.
Scripture is full of examples of individuals and groups of people who had to face tremendous obstacles. In the above passage, Joshua was leading the people of God across the Jordan River. Moses, his mentor, was gone and now Joshua would take the cloak of leadership of the Israelites. His fear was justified. But read again how this is paraphrased in The Message: “Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”
What fear do you need to conquer today? You may find that something amazing is waiting on the other side.
2 Timothy 1:7