I was standing on the Kawarau Bridge on the South Island of New Zealand overlooking the 141 drop to the river gorge below. Strapped to my ankles was a large bungee cord, or essentially a glorified rubberband. My heart was pounding out of my chest and I could faintly hear the water rushing below me. The wind was whipping at my cheeks as the bungee worker began yelling the countdown in a loud booming voice. Three, two, one… All I felt at that moment was….fear.
“What in the heck am I doing?” I thought to myself in these final moments of the countdown. “I’m getting ready to throw myself off this bridge and hope and pray that I don’t go plunging to my death in the icy waters below. Have I lost my mind?” Some would probably say I had, but even though fear was for a moment holding me back from jumping into the abyss, it didn’t win. On that final count of three I jumped.
I jumped because I knew that something was holding onto me, and I trusted that it wouldn’t let me go. I began to free fall, head first, and found myself instinctively shutting my eyes tightly out of fear as the wind whistled past my ears. But then something incredible happened. I began to feel a slight pull on my ankles and my descent began to gradually slow. I felt a tension develop that eventually stopped my rapid fall and that tension started to gracefully bounce my body up and down. I immediately opened my eyes and threw my arms out like wings of a bird. It was the closest sensation to flying I had ever felt. It was a gloriously freeing moment that I will always remember.
I would have never had this experience had I let fear rule in that moment when I was standing on that bridge. Fear. The “False Expectation of something Appearing Real”. Fear has the potential to cripple us and keep us from moving forward into what God has prepared for us.
The Bible has more verses written around the command “DO NOT FEAR” than any other concept. In fact, I was reading the book “If You Want to Get Out of the Water You Have to Get Out of the Boat” by John Ortberg, and he said that there are 366 verses about fear to be exact. One for every day of the year including leap year! Obviously, God knows that fear is the enemy’s most powerful weapon that he has to keep us down for the count.
If God’s people are immobilized with fear, they can’t mobilize for His kingdom.
Isaiah 41:13 says, “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
“You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22
Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” This one is a direct command for us to not be afraid. Not just a suggestion, but a direct order from our commanding officer, God.
In order to not live in fear you need to trust. Just like I put my trust in that thick bungee cord to keep me from failing, we need to put our trust in Jesus. Trust that He will carry you through whatever storm you are facing. Trust that He will protect you when the waters and the world are raging around you. And trust that if you push past your fear and take that leap, He will catch you and send you on the ride of your life.
Open your eyes, spread your arms, and get ready to fly.