For years, one of my very close friends was terrified of flying in an airplane. He had panic attacks on planes—or even just sitting in an airport. Although he owns a very successful business and travel is part of the job, he scheduled his life so he wouldn’t have to fly on an airplane. It was inconvenient but necessary for him. He would drive all the way across the country to avoid getting on a plane. Actually, it was hard for me to understand. As a business traveler, I have flown hundreds of times over the years, and I jump onto a plane just like I’m getting in my car. I’m usually asleep before takeoff.
But we all have fears. We all have areas our enemy uses to make us panic and take our eyes from God. Mine is not flying, but I’m certainly crippled by fear in many other areas.
The real story here comes with one word in the first sentence of this post—“was.” Past tense. A few days ago, my friend told me he gets excited when driving past an airport—so much that he can’t wait to fly again. This is the same person that had trouble breathing normally while driving past an airport two years ago. So, what changed?
With his permission, I want to share an excerpt from a recent email he sent:
2 years ago, I would have cut off one of my fingers before getting on an airplane. [Some close friends] prayed over me about this fear. Through their love and God’s healing power, I have now been on, I believe, 19 flights in the past 2 years. On those flights, I have some of my closest experiences with Jesus. Where else do I get to just talk to a stranger for hours without any interruptions—and where else can I do it knowing only the power of CHRIST even enables me to be on the plane to begin with? I am so cocky, so unaware, so selfish, so nasty most of the time, but that gets stripped away on the airplane as I realize how broken and how desperate I am for Jesus. And when I find him there waiting on me, he fills me with his spirit, and it is amazing what a changed person I become. I am praying that I would realize everyday how desperate I am for Christ, and not just on the days that I am flying.
I wanted to share my friend’s testimony with you because I believe this is where we need to be living—right in the middle of our fears. If we stay in our comfort zones, I believe God has little room to show us the impossible. When we step out into those areas where we don’t think we can survive alone, then God can step in, show us his power, and use us in mighty ways.
In closing, I want to share one more story from my friend. This is from his most recent plane flight:
I was seated next to a guy about my age, who was larger than I am, and tougher. Much tougher. But he took a liking to me, and we began to share our life stories. He told me he used drugs daily for 10 years and 2 years ago attempted suicide. He said he took more than enough to die, and somehow didn’t, and it made him believe God was real and had a plan for his life. He entered rehab. He said he is much better now, still using drugs, but not nearly as much. He has had a job for almost two years now and is relying on God to help him battle his addiction. We shared a ton of scripture with each other, encouraged each other, and prayed together on the plane. It would take a long time to tell you everything he and I talked about in 2 hours, but it was unbelievable. Among the more noteworthy, he said his plan was to use drugs when he got home, but he felt God speaking to him through our time together and he was going to lean on God and not use yesterday. There was so much more amazing conversation and God was at work in both of our lives. I shared with him my fears and anxieties and how I have been captive to those for so long and we both received so much encouragement from God, through each other. It was so incredible.
Giving our fears to Jesus puts us in a place where we’re truly dependent on him. When incredible stories happen, we know it’s a God story and nothing we’ve done by our own power. My friend’s story has taught me to truly believe 2 Corinthians 12:9. Live in those areas of weakness, for that is where God’s power can truly be displayed…
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
What fears can you turn over to Jesus today?
Content Copyright 2011. Allison @ Anointed With Grace.
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