Matt 10:31 (New International Version)
So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
One couple spent a holiday driving in the mountains. "Every time you race around one of those narrow curves," exclaimed the wife,
"I just get terrified."
"Then do what I do," suggested her husband. "Close your eyes!" We are all afraid at times, but closing our eyes is not always a helpful way through fear. Better to open your eyes and face those fears head-on.
In 1972 David Miln Smith had such an opportunity. Smith, an adventurer, author, and professional speaker, decided to spend a night alone in St. Michael's Cave on the island of Gibraltar as a test of courage. In his book, HUG THE MONSTER (Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1996), he tells of hearing strange sounds all around him as he lay there in the pitch-black, damp, deserted cave that night. Particularly, he came to believe he was not alone!
Fear became panic and he was afraid he was losing his mind. Then suddenly, as he was approaching his psychological breaking point, Smith thought to himself, "Whatever the monster looks like, I will hug it." That simple, almost silly thought, brought great relief to his restless mind. He soon fell into a deep and peaceful sleep until morning. He learned that embracing his fear, literally or figuratively, allowed him to subdue it.
We each have our nights of fear. We each encounter monsters of some sort. We may fear spiders or insects, heights or crowds, abandonment or loneliness, the future or death. And most of us are occasionally visited by shadows of these monsters in the dark of night.
An interesting sequel to Smith's story is that the curator of St. Michael's Cave later informed the adventurer that he had discovered unusual footprints in the cave the morning after his overnight stay! Which shows, of course, that though fears may be legitimate, they must still be embraced.
The next time you're afraid, try "hugging the monster." Face that fear head-on, whatever it is, and embrace it. You may be surprised at how quickly it slips away, and at how confident you begin to feel. Like that beautiful spirit Eleanor Roosevelt said,
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face." As well as knowing that God is there with you.
Dear Lord we thank You that You are always there in the good times and the bad times. Thanks for being there when we are fearful, help us to completely trust You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.