By Josh Holloway
As I sat on the train, waiting at the station in York, England, I checked my watch for the umpteenth time. I was on my way from Edinburgh, Scotland to London where I had a flight to catch to Prague, Czech Republic, so that I could visit my sister who was there teaching English. I had been touring southern England with my college choir for almost two weeks and at the end of the tour had taken off on my own to visit Scotland for several days. Now I had just a few hours before my flight was supposed to take off from Heathrow Airport and my train hadn’t moved in over an hour. I learned later that someone had chosen a stretch of track between me and my destination to end his life by stepping in front of another train.
The first hour stretched into two and the knot of worry in my stomach grew. If the train didn’t start moving soon I was going to miss my flight, and then what? My sister would be waiting for me at the airport in Prague and I had no way of contacting her to let her know I wasn’t going to make it. Would I be able to get another flight? How much would that cost? Would I be stranded in London with little money and nothing to do for another week until my flight home? The worry was making me sick. Finally, with nothing else to do, I bowed my head and prayed, putting it all in God’s hands.
Never in my life, before or since, have I felt such an instantaneous and overwhelming flood of peace wash over me as I did at that moment. The churning mass of bile in my belly suddenly disappeared and I was able to take a deep breath. The problems were still there but suddenly the worry was gone, replaced by a trust that God would work everything out.
After another hour at the York station, we were informed that the railroad was transferring us to buses and after a scenic drive through the English countryside we were loaded on a new train headed south. We arrived in King’s Cross station in London about the same time my flight was departing from Heathrow. With the help of the railroad, I rescheduled my flight for the next morning and the railroad put me up in a nice hotel for the night. I called the school in Prague where my sister worked and they caught her just as she was walking out the door on the way to the airport to pick me up.
Other than the cost of my new ticket, which was four times the cost of the original and had to be charged to a credit card, everything worked out fine. I enjoyed my visit with my sister and returned home to the U.S. a week later with memories that I will keep for a lifetime. The most wonderful memory though, was the peace that God gave me in that train station.
I wish I could say I have never worried about a thing since then, but of course that isn’t true. Ellen White said “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us … let us beware lest we lose the lesson of the past.” But more often than not, we do forget. There have been times in my life since then when I have faced uncertainty about jobs and finances and times when I was in so much emotional pain that I had to pull my car over to the side of the road and just scream till I had no voice and no tears left. Thankfully, I can say that with each new difficulty I have sooner or later come to the point where I remembered to hand it over to God and each time he has given me peace and worked it out better than I ever thought possible at the time. And each time that happens I learn to trust him more and worry and fear less.
Fear comes in all shapes and sizes, it affects each one of us differently, and we are all afraid of different things. Sometimes we fear things like the dark, spiders, snakes, or heights. Other common fears are the fear of death, the fear of public speaking, the fear of rejection, the fear of losing a loved one, etc. As Christians, we know that fear is the direct result of sin. Fear entered the world at the very moment when Adam and Eve bit into the forbidden fruit. And on top of the fears we have for our physical and emotional wellbeing we also have fears for our spiritual wellbeing. The fear of end times, the fear of hell, or the fear of being lost.
Some might argue that a little fear is a healthy thing. It protects us by keeping us from doing some pretty dangerous things or motivates us as nothing else can. But that’s not the way that God works. I could fill up many pages with bible verses where His message is “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Is. 41:10) He says it over and over in both the old and new testaments and there should be no doubt in our hearts and minds that He means it.
But it isn’t easy to let go of our fears. Sometimes it is a real struggle and even when we think we have given them over to God we discover that we are still hanging onto a small corner that robs us of the peace He has promised us. Don’t let the thing that you think is protecting you be the thing that is holding you back. God is right beside each one of us, holding our hand, waiting for us to take those baby steps of putting our trust completely in Him.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I want to encourage you to take those steps today. Maybe for you they are baby steps or maybe you have been walking for a while now and it is time to take a leap of faith or two. Wherever you are in your walk, God is right there, encouraging you to take the next step. Don’t let your fears keep you from learning how to dance.