Heights send me into a panic. Depth too. No tall buildings, no deep dives. Here I am, shoved out the door of a small plane. Thoughts scrambled and muscles jarred into inaction. Fearful, I reach our into an empty void. Then I scream, long and loud. My mind goes frantic, as I recall television images of smiling skydivers, enjoying the sensation of floating in the air. I scream louder still, watching as the ground draw near. Anxious that my parachute is about to fail. I hear our daughter’s words of irony, “Epic Fail!”
Fear tranquilizes my vocal cords. Tears sting my face. I pray, call out and hope against all hope. Space is running out and gravity is hard at work. Scared into anger, I rant and rave. I only got into the plane in support of my friends. Someone pushed me and now I am angry, let down and cheated out of a smooth landing. Reality grips my gut, wrenched in cold, hard fear. I know what I feel and I sense the end is near.
No flight in formation, no arms to draw me near. I rely on God and yes, this fear! Shame, anger, anguish and distress beat at me. My fists are clenched in this senseless fear! Cold shatters my thoughts, chilling my face and teeth. The screaming inaudible and a sense of loss becomes clear.
Psalm 56 lights up my heart:
In God I TrustTo the choirmaster: according to The Dove on Far-off Terebinths. A Miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.
56 Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
all day long an attacker oppresses me;
2 my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many attack me proudly.
3 When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?
5 All day long they injure my cause;
all their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They stir up strife, they lurk;
they watch my steps,
as they have waited for my life.
7 For their crime will they escape?
In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
9 Then my enemies will turn back
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise,
11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
12 I must perform my vows to you, O God;
I will render thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered my soul from death,
yes, my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God
in the light of life.
It dawns on me – God will catch me and possibly throw me up in the air, just to hear my squeals of delight. Fear is not my name and neither is it my place. I honour God and pray in faith. Fear unravels like an unwanted cloak; drops at my feet in a thud. I step out and away, free and clear – light as a feather! All I needed was a moment of prayer and communion with the Lord God on High! I plan to stay near….