Fighting fear

God’s presence brings peace

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Photo: Getty Images

Uncertainty gripped my heart as I wound my way up the snow-covered road. I had worked longer than planned so left later than I intended for the special weekend retreat with women from my church, Kingwood Bible Church in Salem, Oregon, at a Christian conference center at the base of the Cascades.

I was supposed to lead worship for each session, and I feared I might miss the first meeting, or, worse, have to turn around and try again in the morning if I couldn’t find the first turnoff. I had planned to leave early enough to make the 45-minute drive in daylight but did not take into account how early the sun sets at the end of February.

Heading out, I entered the address into my phone’s GPS, hoping it would navigate as far as possible before losing service. When daylight disappeared completely, I realized how foolish I was to venture out alone. The snowy conditions and darkness made it nearly impossible to see the edge of the road, much less any signs. I had not seen another car for miles, and my phone now showed “No Service.” I figured I was on my own to find my next turn.

I have dealt with fear all my life, with fear of the dark being one of my biggest fears since childhood. My vivid imagination only makes things worse.

I reminded myself that God saw me, knew exactly where I was and where I needed to be. “Please God, make it really clear where to turn so I don’t miss it,” I prayed.

Moments later I heard the map voice: “In 800 feet turn right.” Peering through the darkness, my headlights caught the half snow-covered sign for the road I was to turn on which I would have missed if “the voice” had not alerted me. “Thank you, Lord!” I spoke into the darkness, grateful that God used the voice to direct me even though a quick glance at my phone showed “No Service.”

The second snow-covered road was narrower than the first. Again, I felt lost. Numerous roads branched off into the cold, dark woods of Silver Falls State Park. What if I took a wrong turn and got stranded in the snow with no one knowing where I was? I had packed warm clothes and boots and had two cozy blankets, but the thought of spending the night alone in the dark snowy woods sent a chill down my spine.

“Please, Lord, I need you to make it really clear again where to turn so I don’t miss it.”

Going further I heard, “In 600 feet turn left.” Rounding the bend, my headlights flashed over the sign leading to Christian Renewal Center. Upon turning, I looked at my phone. No service.

Turning off my car in the parking lot behind the lodge, I let go of the steering wheel and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

“Thank you, Jesus!” I said out loud.

Looking back over my life, I see how I’ve let fear steal my peace and influence my actions. Something that has helped me move beyond my fears and do things that I never would have done in the past is to remind myself that the Lord is my good Shepherd. While driving, whenever I started to feel fearful, I would say out loud, “I will fear no evil because you are with me,” (Ps. 23:4).

As I entered the warmth and safety of the lodge with 15 minutes to spare, I felt the tension finally leaving my body. And to my delight, I discovered the building’s name: “Good Shepherd Lodge.”

1 COMMENT

  1. What an amazing story. I’ve known Pam for a bit now and it always impresses me the way she’s able to connect with people (sometimes not even in the same language). Thank you Pam for this. “No temere mal alguno porque Tu estas conmigo”

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