Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
Lately I have been feeling a nudging to write something about fear, but why, and what to write? I have a personal story to tell about a fear that I have dealt with but it is not one of those neat all tied up with a pretty ribbon stories. In other words, I didn’t have a big splashy miracle where I was healed instantaneously. My deliverance from my fear has been a work in progress but maybe that will be an encouragement to some of you who are dealing with some serious fears.
Somewhere back in the mid 80s I had an experience which triggered a fear I didn’t know was inside me: claustrophobia. I was with a large work group, leaving a baseball game at Tiger Stadium in Detroit. Due to a car mix up, nine or ten of us all had to pile into one car very tightly but everyone thought, “Oh well, the hotel is only a couple of miles; we can make it for that long.”
Traffic was gridlocked due to a major concert that was also letting out and we were crawling along. Suddenly at a stop light I panicked and I absolutely had to get out of the car. People were trying to stop me but there was no stopping me. A concerned co-worker got out also in order to accompany me through the dark streets of Detroit. We walked to the hotel and made it back before our carload of friends.
After this experience it was like the cat was let out of the bag. The fear and panic and terror had to be accommodated and I learned how to think through every potential circumstance so as never to be in that position again. This meant that I waited at an elevator until all other passengers were in. That way I could judge if the elevator was too full and I could wait for the next one. I HAD to have an aisle seat on a plane. I could not ride in the back seat of a two door car. I could not be at a big public event with throngs of people and no space in between.
I lived with my fear for several years and any prayers I said were directed at asking God to accommodate the fear. “Lord, don’t let so many people get on that elevator.” Please God, let them have an aisle seat available.” You know what? The Lord graciously answered those prayers. I was afraid he would force me into some close calls just to show me that I could gut it through but he never did that. I expected him to lay a guilt trip on me because I clearly didn’t trust him but he never did. He didn’t force me; he just quietly loved me and let me harbor my fear as if he respected my choice to keep it if I wanted to.
That is what gave me the courage to finally ask for healing. “Lord, please heal me of claustrophobia. This has me all bound up and I want to be free.” What followed was remarkable and slow. The first step was the absolute confidence I had gained over time that he would not allow me to be in a situation that I could not handle. I called upon that knowledge whenever things got tight.
Little successes came along gradually. Each success gave me more hope and more confidence that total healing would come. Finally a really big success came during a visit to my daughter Danielle when she lived in Boston. I was there for the Fourth of July and dearly wanted to hear the Boston Pops concert and watch the fabulous fireworks in person that I had seen so many times on TV.
When we decided on watching from a bridge which gave us the best view it was pretty empty, but as the city darkened, thousands came to our bridge. Danielle leaned over to me and said; “Mom, don’t look behind you” so, I never did. I just listened to the music and watched the sky. God graciously kept a small cushion of space around me, and when it was over, we lingered at the railing until the enormous press of people dispersed.
I knew after that I was really on the mend – God was truly bringing me to a place of freedom. He still is. I can’t tell you that I am 100% free of claustrophobia but my confidence is still that he will not allow me in any situation that I can’t handle. Time after time he proved that to me.
Many people live with major fears, fears that are debilitating. Some cannot even leave their homes where they live as veritable prisoners instead of freely enjoying all of life as God intended. Is that you? If so, I say; “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).
The first step is a desire to be healed and that is a big step for many who are protecting themselves and using their fear to control their environment. I don’t know what your path of freedom will be exactly, but I know God has one for you. God wants you to be completely free from fear. Count on that and begin your journey with one small step.
Afterword: I just received the following testimony from Heather who read this article and wrote me about her own healing from fear. Her experience is different than mine and is a wonderful example of how God deals with each one of us personally and in a way that is just right. I hope you are encouraged to seek your own healing from the Lord if you are struggling with fear.
Ever since I was a little girl, up to my teen years and some parts of my adult life I had been overwhelmed with fear to the point I couldn’t even leave my home. I was shut in 24/7. (Agoraphobia, anxiety & panic attacks, Multiple Personality Disorders) BUT, the Lord delivered me out of all those destructions.
He sent me to Texas, to see a Kenneth Copeland Convention. I never thought I would see the day that I would travel across to the States to get a word from the Lord. And in fact, that is exactly what happened! I did go, but I depended upon the Lord the whole time! Mind you, sometimes it wasn’t very easy, but when I learned to LEAN on HIM, what a difference.
He was with me the whole time, never left me for a moment. Because I truly leaned on Him and trusted Him, instead of how I felt, all fear left! I didn’t even think of it.
When I arrived at the Convention, the first thing they spoke about was, “THE WAR ON FEAR! GOD HAS DELIVERED YOU FROM ALL FEAR! FEAR IS FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL.” It was not just a coincidence, but a God-incident! He showed me so many things, I could hardly believe that I actually allowed that fear to enter into my heart!