Afraid Of Heights (James 1:5)

“Dude on rock!”

“Rock on Dude!”

With this terse exchange, my daughter stepped backward into a drop of sixty feet on a canyon wall. It was our family’s first experience at rappelling. Our guides were an experienced couple who took novices like ourselves down the steep canyon walls near Zion national park. It was frightening, exhilarating, and intense. It was particularly nerve wracking for me since I am afraid of heights. Nonetheless, our instructors were masters at meticulously explaining each step and assuring us that there was absolutely no way we would be hurt or fall. 

After I completed two rappellings, I turned to one of the guides and confided, “You know, I wasn’t sure I would be able to do this because I have always been afraid of heights.” To my amazement, he replied, “Me too!”

“What? Wow, I wasn’t expecting that! How did you overcome your fear?”

He smiled. “Oh I’m still afraid, especially when overlooking a canyon several hundred feet deep. Get that queasy feeling in my gut, you know? So, I began watching a lot of online videos, reading books, and educated myself until I was convinced that if I had the proper equipment and training, I would be absolutely safe. Within about a year, I was able to keep up with my wife who had been doing this for about five years.”

Facing our fears. 

Our guide was able to face and conquer his fears when he took the time to educate himself about the activity he was planning to undertake. My spiritual journey followed a similar path. I was convinced that religion was a crutch for the weak-willed and insecure. God intervened when I was a freshman in college, allowing me to meet a dear Christian brother who was patient to meet and explain the Bible to me. Still, for nearly a year, I resisted and argued with him. Finally, he sternly questioned me. “Do you really want to know who God is? Then ask Him to reveal Himself to you.”

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 

James 1:5 (NLT)

Like the first steps off the canyon from which I rappelled, I was fearful. It was one of the first times in my life when I prayed to God, whom I was still unsure if He truly existed. I asked Him for wisdom, to reveal Himself to me. It did not happen immediately but after a few months, things that were previously mystifying began to make sense. I read the Bible and learned about God’s plan for my life. I was a sinner and I needed to confess and repent of my sins and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I had done the intellectual preparation, it was time to take the spiritual step. One week before Easter, I became a Christian.

I faced my fears when I learned everything I could about God. It was not an irrational leap of faith. It was a faith built upon the solid assurance of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like my guide’s preparation, I was convinced that there was nothing to fear. I knew God loved me and His perfect love cast out all my fears!

Amen!

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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