Walking the Planks of Fear
Our daughter Lisa is Gephyrophobic. In other words, she has a fear of crossing bridges. As far as we know, there’s nothing in her background that would have triggered this fear. But it’s still very real to her.
According to Science Buzz Aug. 8 2007, “USA Today had a story about a program for Gephyrophobic drivers in the Chesapeake Bay Bridge area of Maryland. That bridge is four miles long and for years, Maryland’s Transportation Authority had a special program for gephyrophobic drivers. With call ahead, they could be met at the bridge by a bridge driver who would hop in their car and drive it over the bridge. Last year, more than 4,000 people took advantage of that program. That number grew so high, private contractors have now been hired to provide the service. What once was a free service now costs $25 a trip.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had someone to escort us over our various bridges of fear? The truth is we do. We have a Bridgetender who operates and maintains our fears. That is, if we take Him at His Word and trust Him to overcome our fears.
Are not our worst fears based on our concept of the future? Of the unknowns? The future raises a lot of questions and no tangible answers. What is going to happen to me? To those I love? To the world I live in?
There’s a difference between rational and irrational fears. We teach our children about rational fear when we train them not to play in the traffic or not to touch a hot iron. Rational fear is healthy because it is logical reasoning concerning imminent danger.
Irrational fear is unhealthy because it is fear without valid reason. Such as monsters in the closet or impending doom lurking around every corner.
The key to unlocking our fears lies in what we do with truth, especially God’s truth. Our Bridgetender speaks of rational and irrational fears. And He warns us what to fear or not to fear. We are to fear Him, but not to fear the future.
For example, Proverbs 1:7 says: Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge. NLT
The Greek word for fear of the Lord means “to be in awe of exceeding reverence.” I’ve concluded to fear the Lord means to revere Him so much we fear being out of His will.
Perhaps we should approach fear as Job did in the midst of his tragic life. “Have I feared the crowd or the contempt of the masses, so that I kept quiet and stayed indoors?” 31:34 NLT Job chose to trust his Bridgetender and to refuse to fear people and circumstances.
In Ann Voskamp’s devotional One Thousand Gifts she speaks of her Lord as the Bridge Builder. “. . . if I’m grateful to the Bridge Builder for the crossing of a million strong bridges, thankful for a million faithful moments, my life speaks my beliefs and I trust Him again. I fearlessly cross the next bridge. . . . Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks. Remembering frames up gratitude. Gratitude lays out the planks of trust. I can walk the planks—from known to unknown—and know He holds.”
God orchestrated a unique plan to teach our daughter to literally walk the planks of her fear in victory and trust.
Let me explain. In Belgium, old wooden bridges across the country were being replaced with new ones. A businessman contracted to buy all the wood from the bridges. When Brad and Lisa’s new house was being built, they decided to use the wood from the Belgium bridges for the floors in their house.
Not only are they beautiful floors; they are a constant reminder that God is faithful and to be trusted to tend all our fears. To Lisa’s amazement, she declares “I walk everyday over the very thing I fear most, bridges.”
How do we know our future is in God’s hands? Because He said so. “But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!” Psalm 103:17-18
So, what do we have to fear?
Let’s talk. How has God helped you to walk over the planks of the fears in your life?