We had an interesting discussion about the things we fear this past Wednesday night in the small group that meets at my house. We discussed everything from sharks and pigs and crowded elevators to MRI machines and flying monkeys. I shared something that scares me a bit, and I’ll go ahead and confess it here as well.
Sometimes, when I drive over a high bridge, especially over water, a weird sense of fear grips me. A knot-in-my-stomach, weak-in-the-knees kind of fear. Not all the time, but sometimes. It’s not just a fear of heights, it’s a fear of specifically driving over bridges. Very few things really frighten me, probably because I don’t have sense enough sometimes to be afraid when circumstances would dictate I should. But driving over a high bridge can really do a number on me.
So I was comforted when I read an article a few years back that I am not alone, that there are many others who “suffer” with the same problem. Our group discussion got me to thinking about that article, and by the miracle of Google, I was able to find it. The article told of people who are so afraid of bridges that they will drive hours out of their way to avoid them. Others try to cross but have a panic attack in the middle of the bridge and can’t go on, blocking traffic.
Because of this, the operators of some of the longest and highest spans in America now offer a driving service. On request, one of the bridge attendants will get behind the wheel and drive your car over the bridge. A few years back, Michigan’s “Timid Motorist Program” assisted 830 drivers across the Mackinac Bridge, which is five miles long and rises two hundred feet above the water. At Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which is over four miles long and also rises two hundred feet above the water, authorities took the wheel and helped over a thousand fearful motorists.
The truth is, bridges aren’t the only things that cause fear in people’s hearts. Whether it’s an officially recognized “phobia” or just something we face every day that makes us a little nervous, fear is a natural human condition. Over 500 times, in fact, the Bible records God–or one of His messengers–telling people: “Fear not!” Why? Because obviously they were already afraid. Often, the admonition to no longer be afraid was accompanied by a promise: “…for I am with you.”
In a terrifying situation the way to get over the paralysis of fear is to do like those motorists crossing the bridge–turn the wheel over to someone else. Turn the situation over to God and then trust Him to handle it for you. You may still have to cross that bridge, but you’re not doing it alone, and God is the One in control.
Is there anything you are afraid of today? Something giving you a knot in the pit of your stomach? Making you nervous even to think about it? Just turn it over to the Lord, who will never leave you nor forsake you, and let Him handle things. He can. And will.
I’m praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.