14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
For 26 years of my life I was afraid of the dark. I was actually afraid of many things - talking to people, taking risks, failing, being rejected, and many other specific things. But I think all of those fears can be generalized in that one irrational, illogical statement: “fear of the dark”. If the lights were out, I would get a chill down my spine. I was uncomfortable, afraid, tormented.
As a teenager, I watched a horror film at a friend’s house. Later that night, I walked down a dark hallway in my house and heard a creak or crack or some noise. My body instantly froze. I was literally paralyzed with fear. I was standing next to a light switch, but I simply could not move my hand to flip the switch.
I used to think that it was normal; that it was just my personality. It was just part of who I was.
That is, until Sunday, December 4th, 2005, when I read these words in the Bible:
Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who had the power of death - that is, the devil - and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Heb 2:14-15 NIV & NKJV combined
Like a 3D movie or magic-eye puzzle, 3 words seemed to hover just above the page, suspended in mid air. I rubbed my eyes wondering if I was seeing straight. But there they were: fear of death.
It was the first time in my life I heard God speak to me, and He had a simple but profound message: do not be afraid. My eyes were opened to the fact that I had been a slave to fear.
In that one sentence my condition was diagnosed, and the cure was prescribed! I received a revelation that Jesus' death enabled me to become free from fear - even from the worst possible fear I could imagine - death. He died so that I don't have to be afraid of dying, or of anything else!
It was as though I had received the cure to cancer, won the Powerball lottery, won the Super Bowl, the World Cup, and the Olympics all in that one instant. I could be free from fear! I was utterly overwhelmed. I slept maybe an hour that night out of sheer excitement.
How magnificent to think that the God of the universe spoke to me. After two and a half decades of living a life enslaved to fear, I began the journey to freedom, to experience the adventure of life.
And so my heart echos the psalmist’s words: I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies as much as in all riches. Thank you Jesus.
(I should also mention that I have since made the decision to never again watch horror films. I refuse to willingly subject myself to the slavery that comes through fear.)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.