If you’ve been tracking with our most recent podcasts, you’ll know that we released the first episode in a two-part series on “Fear” at the beginning of the week.
The timing of that episode release and this week’s events are now making me laugh in a “God, you have a weird sense of humor!” kind of way.
If you caught the episode, you’ll know that I’ve struggled with fear throughout most of my life. Okay, all of my life. From childhood fears of the dark and being alone to adult fears (that, interestingly, make you feel quite childlike) of financial crisis, flat tires, or travel plans gone horribly awry, fear has been a more-or-less constant companion over these 37 years.
Which brings me to Wednesday. Two days after our episode launched. On fear. So clearly, we're primed for some kind of less-than-ideal "something" to happen here.
My pickup truck is now old enough to order a beer in a restaurant and has driven enough miles to qualify for whatever the vehicle version of AARP is. So with all of that said, we knew the old boy wasn’t going to last forever. But when the transmission died on my way to work, I wasn’t thinking about any of that in the moment.
Care to guess what I was thinking?
If you were betting on something like this…
Or perhaps this…
I would have agreed with you.
But in an ironic twist in the week that we're talking about fear, the prevailing feeling was instead some version of..."everything's going to be okay."
Now, that alone is a huge testament to just how much work Jesus has done in me over the last seven years as we've worked through the issue of fear again and again and again. But even better is that, in that moment, it was a completely organic feeling. I wasn't freaking out in the driver's seat while coaxing my truck onto a side street and trying to convince myself that everything was going to be okay. I wasn't repeating it like a mantra in the hope that I might actually believe it for a moment.
I genuinely wasn't afraid.
I wasn't anxious. I wasn't worried. I wasn't anything in the zip code of fear.
Even better, I knew I wasn't afraid.
And that, my friends, is a miracle.
Honestly, I felt a little bit like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone after his quixotic victory over his spooky basement.
Did I know what was happening next in my story? Not at all, other than hoping my wife might be able to come rescue me and get me to work on time. (Sidenote: she did!)
Did I know if or how or when we'd be able to replace the vehicle? Not even a little bit.
This wasn't a sense of peace born out of control over circumstances to come or a flush bank account or a spare car waiting at home for just such an occurrence.
Instead, I could feel God with me...the creator of four hundred billion billion suns (not a typo...look it up), and for one of the first times in my life, I felt safe.
Now, if fear isn't your thing, please be happy for me and trust that I'm not trying to make a big deal out of a relatively common event in the lives of mobile Americans.
But if fear has ever been any sort of constant companion for you, I wanted to share this story of personal victory so that we could celebrate together.
We don't have to be afraid anymore.
There is hope.