The kind that grips you by the throat and squeezes until your chest breaks open just to see you squirm. The kind that steals the bliss of sleep, the joy of laughter, the promise of life, the adventure from the journey. I know that fear. He has been a sneaky companion.
Senseless, perhaps, but this fear is real every time my feet leave terra firma. Quote statistics, show me aviation’s data, explain aeronautic lift; my heart pumps with escape adrenaline until the plane lands. I am the dorky passenger in the back that claps when the wheels touch. I really do. I send a text to Jay, cheated death again. He laughs but I am only half kidding.
And as this metal bird tips me over La Ville de Lumiere tonight, I catch my breath, wishing I was free to appreciate the exquisite beauty instead of gasping for air. Fear is a calculating thief.
Jesus told me not to be afraid. Funny. I think I imagine those were easy words for him to say. When you are God, what do you have to lose?
But something turned sweat to droplets of blood in a Garden.
I think I believe that sucking in that first breath of oxygen, growing up in exile, dying young was somehow easier because God is God. But, Athanasius reminds me that ‘God became what I am so that I could become what He is.’
Jesus. Completely man. Completely God. Deity with sand between his toes.
So that I? So that I might be humanity with heaven in my heart.
In the genesis of our story, God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. Imagine that. To know that God was always there, listening, protecting, surprising. His heart overflowed with perfect love that dressed everything in a shimmering ray of ecstatic contentment. That was our, in the beginning.
We lost a lot on the day that Adam and Eve chose fruit. We lost the ability to believe, really believe, that God wants and orchestrates our best.
‘Did God really say?’
‘Yes. Yes. He did.’
He said that he loved me enough to squeeze into skin so that I could believe again.
I have penned a thousand prayers at 10,000 meters. Punched fear in the face and often lost. But every once in a while, the sand becomes grace. Every once in a while, I truly let go of this life and believe, really believe, that God knows. That God knows what is best for me. That God knows how to get me where I need to go. That God knows.
He knows my fears, their questionable conception and their grip on my heart. And his loving response is a repeated reminder, ‘Fear not.’
Is it a senseless belief that bad things never happen? Or, a step of faith into sand encrusted sandals? By God’s grace, I reclaim what Eve lost in the garden that day. I choose to believe the words of my creator.
In this world, you will have trouble but fear not, I have overcome the world.
Tonight, bouncing through turbulent clouds, wondering if God knows how to land this plane, I choose to clap my hands and believe again that death really has been cheated.
What slippery, slimy fear paralyzes your breath tonight? Exhale and choose to remember.