Christian Living

Spiritual Life

These Are a Few of My Scariest Things

Scary things scare me! I recently confronted something I feared—an MRI. I wasn’t excited about being shut in a machine with deafening noises. To me, that seemed like cruel and unusual punishment.

I sat in the waiting room. Don’t they know that the length of my wait increases the intensity of my fears? I recalled my anxiety over zip-lining in the Ozark Mountains. After a hairpin-turn in an open-sided truck with two tires on the road and two hanging over a ridge, the guides issued me a hard hat, gloves, and a harness that would somehow stop my plummet from the cable into the forest 100 feet below. They declined my suggestion for sheathing me in infinite amounts of bubble wrap. When I got to the platform, the guides concluded I was one of those people who never take the giant leap. Convinced flying through the air was better than tackling the truck ride again, I said, “Let’s fly.” Off I flew—and had the time of my life!

Back in the waiting room, I rationalized that if I could sail through the air on a cable, I could lie in a machine while magnets disrupted the atom structure in my body. The technician recognized my fears, convinced I was one of those people who would never make it through the imaging. She suggested I come back another time and have sedation. I felt marked with failure for my lack of courage, and I hate sedation. I resigned myself to the MRI. She positioned me in the machine, briefly held my hand, and gave me a buzzer to alert her when I was convinced I would die. I said, “Let’s roll.” Survival mode began as I was literally rolled into the machine.

Each scan started with a loud jackhammer sound and continued with vibrations and distinct clatter. One scan sounded like a mantra. I wanted to laugh, but was instructed not to move. Another sounded like a monotone voice repeating “believe believe.” It was likely no coincidence, as I prayed against my fears—I believed alright! The last scan sounded like a helicopter. I nearly cried as I remembered a magnificent helicopter ride into the Grand Canyon with my husband. But since I was instructed not to move, crying was out.

I ultimately wasn’t one of those people. I never pushed my buzzer to get out early. I praised God for the courage to endure that machine for 30 minutes. He taught me that all I needed to do was believe that my fears were never bigger than His presence.

God says we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14 NIV) 

I naturally liked the part about being made wonderful, but I struggled to comprehend being “fearfully made.” When I checked the meaning of fearful, I was reminded fearful means to be afraid or filled with awe.

Daniel must have been afraid of the lions when he entered the lions' den. But he was awed by the Lord’s protection from the lions’ jaws.

Queen Esther must have been afraid when she approached the King. But she was awed by her security with God, not in royal privilege.

David must have been afraid as he selected stones to slay the giant or when his grievous sins were revealed. But he was awed by God’s power to protect, and to forgive his moral weaknesses. God considered him to be a man after His own heart. (Acts 13:22 NIV)

How beautiful to be fearfully and wonderfully made! God desires our awe of Him. He knows we get lost in real fears, and He promises His love through them. God said, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1 NIV) 

Even in our fearful moments, He never rejects and always protects—because He summons us by name into His presence.

Copyright © 2017 Cheryl Crofoot Knapp. Used by permission.

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