On Sunday night into Monday morning, we had a train of major thunderstorms roll through most of Texas. It spawned several tornados; none in our area. But, there is a stray trampoline in the middle of a farmer’s field. It dropped 1 ½ inches of rain at my house in several hours. We also lost electrical power for about 6 hours. All this happened and I was not afraid. This is a major healing that God has done in my life.
When I was about 7 or 8, lightning either hit the roof of my house or very nearby. At the time, my family lived in a 3-story townhouse in Northern Virginia. The house was 900-1200 square feet. My Grandmother’s bedroom and the storage/utility room were on the bottom floor. The middle floor consisted of the living room, dining room, and kitchen. The top floor was the 3 bedrooms where my parents, I and 2 siblings slept. On that day, I had gotten sick at school and my mother picked me up early. She told me to change out of my school clothes into my play clothes. I went upstairs to my bedroom and changed clothes. I have no memory of walking down the most of the stairs. But the moment my foot touched the bottom stair, 4 things happened at once to cause my fear of thunderstorms. I saw the flash of lightening. I heard the crash of thunder. I heard glass shattering. And the whole house shook! The shattering glass was the globe of the light fixture at the top of the staircase. If I had been 5 seconds slower going down the stairs, I would have been covered with glass the moment it broke. The broken glass was the only damage. My younger sibling taking a nap even slept through the whole thing. I know see the hand of God protecting me from the glass as the most important part of the story. As a young child, I did not understand that. I developed a fear of thunderstorms.
Effects of the fear
While the fear did not paralyze me, it caused me issues. I remember sitting in a college class that had lots of windows during a huge thunderstorm. The instructor and fellow students did not seem concerned. I was nervous and didn’t hear a thing that was said that day. Later when I was teaching 1st grade, there was a big thunderstorm one day. Many 6-year-olds are frightened by thunderstorms. I had no idea how to keep the class calm when I was a mess on the inside. All I can say is that it was the Grace of God because I made it through that day.
While I wish I could tell you that I prayed once and God healed me of my fear of thunderstorms. That is not what happened. As I walked with him, I learned of his character and his love for me. God does comfort us in our fears and is able to heal them.
My favorite verse in times of fear is Isaiah 43:1-3 NIV. It says
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Let’s look at the important things he tells us in this passage.
- ·He created me. He knows me better than I know myself. He knows the things that cause you fear. He knows it all and still loves you.
- Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. He tells us not to fear and then tells us why. We are told that we don’t have to fear because Jesus redeemed us. He bought us back from the dominion of darkness (Colossians 1:13). Because of this, we do not have to fear.
- I have summoned you by name; you are mine. He knows my name. That brings such comfort. I saw a Facebook meme that said God knows all your sins but calls you by your name. He is intimate and personal.
- When you pass through when you walk through. He tells us that there will be storms of life and we have to walk through them. He tells us that he will be there with us.
I don’t want you to think that I never feel fear. Fear is a human emotion. If used correctly, it is a healthy and protective thing. It lets us know when harm may come our way. It lets us know how to protect ourselves. The above verse says that we are going to walk through some scary things in life but we should not be afraid. He is with us. That black, depressing, immobilize fear comes when we take our eyes of Jesus. At that point, we don’t trust him. We can walk through anything with him by our side.
I would be lying if I said that severe thunderstorms no longer concern me. It would also be stupid. That type of weather in Texas can cause major damage and even death. I need to be rightfully concerned but I don’t need to be fearful because he is by my side.
If you would like to learn more about the healthy uses of fear, I highly recommend The Gift of Fear
by Gavin De Becker. It is not written from a Christian perspective. The author’s website describes him as an expert on the prediction and management of violence. He has earned 3 Presidential appointments and a position on a Congressional committee. The book was given to me as a gift and I have since recommended to many. I insisted that both of my adult daughters read this book and they have recommended it to friends. If you only read two books, the Bible is most important and this one is second.
If only I could teach Java not to be afraid of thunderstorms.
How do you deal with fear? What fears are you dealing with? Do you want to know more about the book The Gift of Fear? Let me know in the comments.