By the time I was four, I had experienced a myriad of life lessons that many adults would struggle to come to terms with or, better still, never face. I survived.
The only thing that seemed insurmountable was the very real fear of the dark.
It wasn’t just a childhood stage of learning; it was a deep emotional and physical barrier to my mind and body. It completely overtook me, plunging me into a frozen state of panic, unable to move, communicate and, at times, even breathe.
The cupboard under the stairs was my prison; my torture usually delivered by an older brother who just ‘wanted to be left alone’. The darkness within the tiny hole enveloped me, reducing me to a motionless child, alone to acknowledge there was no way out. The door was locked.
I soon learned not to bother my brother; to build my life around being alone rather than having to suffer the consequences of the darkness.
Many years have passed I have since learned that all I had to do in that cupboard was to reach up, switch on the light, and banish my tortured mind of the fear, but it was years before this revelation become life to me.
Light dispels darkness and fear.
Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm. It usually brings anxiety and the lack of courage. I, for one, have reacted with dread and intense reluctance to face a situation or a person while carrying that kind of fear in me.
At other times, my mind has been bombarded with frightening thoughts and intense feelings of danger for myself and my loved ones. My Mothers’ heart would at times feel like it had frozen with terror and my mind would feed that fear with dread and implications of unthinkable consequences of what might be for my children.
I remember the day and the hour that God showed me the truth about fear.
Fear is the inability to accept the unknown. The failure to be at peace with your inner being and to fully trust in the power of God.
How many times had I read and taught God’s words: ‘Fear Not’?
How many times had I recited those two words over and over again as a mantra, desperately trying to still the feelings of pervading and overmastering terror and dread within me?
How many times had I prayed those words in desperation to bring God’s light of truth into my body soul and spirit?
The prophesy spoken over me that day came as lightning-bolt truth, a revelation that was life-changing for me. Fear was dispelled, and God’s truth reigned.
To lead a life of faith and grace means completely reconciling yourself to the unknown. To hatred, insecurity, shame, guilt, anger, accusation and untruths. All are cultivated in fear – fear of the unknown.
We were never created to see or plan our future; our destiny is in our faith in God.
“Be strong and courageous. Don’t fear or tremble before them, because the LORD your God will be the one who keeps on walking with you—He won’t leave you or abandon you.”
Today, so much of our society is driven by the fear of individuals, groups and ethnic, religious and socially deprived minorities. Fear is at work, and for those who have not been able to enter a new story fuelled faith and the truth and grace of Jesus, it’s a curse of our times.
The finger pointing is pure aggression which disregards the fingers pointing back to the individual and uses five fingers to form a fist of hate – a weapon to hurt.
My victory that day was being told that the devil feared me more than I feared the unknown! The tenacity in me to seek God and His ways was my weapon against fear and the devil hell-bent on its concoction.
Have I overcome my fears? Well, I’m in my sixties now and, quite honestly, I still have those moments of darkness, but they do not have the power over me they once had.
Immediately I have the strength to face the darkness and speak the light.
I have learned and am still learning.
When the devil whispers: “You’re not strong enough to withstand the STORM.” Every time I hear God boldly reply: “Listen to me, devil. I AM the storm”.