Fear of Flying, Wild Monkeys, and the Call to Courage

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Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears. –Arthur Koestler

Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed,
for the LORD God, my God, is with you.
1 Chronicles 28:20

A cold sweat drenches my palms. Fear courses through me in jagged waves. My stomach lurches wildly as the panic ebbs and flows. I am falling, falling, falling.

Well, not really. It only feels that way as the plane jostles in mild turbulence as it skirts Hurricane Bertha. The year is 1996, and I’m on my first international flight to Brazil with my husband, pastor, and his wife.

Not only did I make it there without incident, we had a wonderful trip and returned safely back to the States two weeks later. Along the way I saw the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Bryce Canyon, and the night lights of Miami for the first time from the air. We flew above a lightning storm and watched the light show beneath us. Although it was in the dark, we flew over the city of Caracas, Venezuela, the Amazon River, and the Brazilian capital of Brasilia. We landed in Sao Paulo on a sparkling day twenty-eight hours after we flew out from the Spokane airport in Washington.

In Brazil we were introduced to its beautifully exotic land and people. We fed bananas to wild monkeys, swam in the Atlantic Ocean, sang worship songs in Portuguese, and drove over hair-raising roads traversing the country. We visited large cities and slums. We held the babies in an AIDS clinic. We wept and laughed and prayed with the wonderful people we met everywhere.

We returned home more thankful for all we have here.

What an amazing journey I would have missed had I given in to my fear of flying and stayed home!

Our family has been in some fearful places since then. God has always brought us through safely with a new understanding of His glory, richer for the losses we’ve gained.

Lately, doors have been closing and others have been opening. Fear once again sits on the doorstep, baring its ugly teeth and challenging us to pass by. We can stay with what is safe, known, near to the water line of our comfort level.

Or we can take that terrifying step into the skies.

Today the familiar feeling of falling has hit my insides once again. I’m not on a plane right now, but our lives have just entered the boarding gate. God’s revving the engines.

Do you feel God calling you out of the ordinary? Are circumstances driving you to the border of the unknown? How do you handle fear when God calls you out of your comfort zone?

Is faith or fear going to win today?

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About PamThorson

Pam is a licensed practical nurse, author, and caregiver. Her first book, Song in the Night, recounts her son's fight for life after a spinal cord injury. Her second book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver, offers hope and encouragement to those who care for others.

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