I have a debilitating fear of flying. I’ve never liked air travel, but after 9/11 (Matt and I were supposed to fly home from Lake Tahoe that day), the fear is overwhelming. The terror is so bad that I can’t even pray my way out of it unless I fly with my “Vitamin V” (Valium). While you’d think such a strong drug would knock me out, it doesn’t. I have so much adrenaline rushing through my veins that I don’t even get drowsy. It just takes the terror down a notch so I can pray and utilize my other coping mechanisms to get me through the flight. Because of this intense fear, any flight is a time I draw especially close to God. When we flew home from Disney World a couple weeks ago, my experience was particularly profound.
Now that the FAA allows travelers to keep small devices and headphones on for the whole flight, my worship music and noise cancelling headphones blocked out the sounds of the engines. Once in the air, as long as I kept my eyes shut, I could pretend to be somewhere else. But when the plane started bumping around as we hit turbulence, the Vitamin V seemed to evaporate entirely. As I felt the panic rising, Mark Schultz‘s song “He Is” began to play.
The whole song is a declaration of the constant and sufficient presence of God. The line that really struck me in that particular situation was:
Even when it feels like there’s no one holding me, be still my soul, he is!
Rationally, I have a general understanding of the physics that cause the plane to stay in the air. Yet, looking out that window at 30,000 feet, it felt like there was nothing keeping it there. When the ride was smooth, I managed to keep myself together. But as we hit those little air pockets and jostled about in the nothingness of the sky, I needed a reminder that I was still in God’s hand. That is when the words of Mark’s song seeped through the anxiety.
While the people around me thought I was taking a nap, I was getting my worship on in a big way! I may have been physically sitting silently in that seat with my eyes closed and hands clasped in my lap, but in my mind, I was on my knees with my hands raised and singing at the top of my lungs. And I just kept hitting repeat on that song and Aaron Shust’s “My Hope is In You.”
In addition to the fear, I also was battling the flu though I didn’t know it at the time. I just knew I was feeling terrible and it kept getting worse as the day went on. By the time we arrived home, I had a fever, chills, and ached all over. Exhausted, I crawled into bed and said one last prayer of gratitude for God’s patience with and care for me.
Certain seasons of our lives can feel like that travel day did to me. Times when fear overwhelms and a weariness weighs us down. Based on the the initial responses to my Reader Survey, there are many out there in one of these seasons.
In the survey, I asked you to share with me how I can pray for you. What are you going through that you need to know God is holding you and working all things out for your good (see Romans 8:28)? I want to pray for you and I want to provide you content that will be a catalyst to connect you with our great and awesome God. After all, he is the source of all comfort.
If you haven’t yet shared your response to the Reader Survey, please take a couple minutes and do so. I want to pray for you and minister to you.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. — 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV
P.S. If you want to know the beautiful and inspiring story behind Mark’s song and read more of the lyrics, click here.
Fear-Fighting Strategy and Checklist
If you struggle to overcome a fear or a challenge, this little checklist might help you. I’ve also compiled a list of Scripture verses to encourage you in your battle. Just click on the image or the button to request it, then I’ll email you a copy instantly!
How about you? What helps you when you find yourself in a scary or challenging situation? You can leave a comment by clicking here.