Several hundred feet above the desert floor, the aerial tram crawls up the face of Mt. San Jacinto. A true engineering marvel, the tramway has been dubbed the eighth wonder of the world.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not fond of heights. In fact, to be totally honest, I’m afraid of heights. As we prepared to board the tram car, it was comforting to know that “more than 12 million people have been safely transported by the Tramway into the majestic mountains overlooking the Coachella Valley since the attraction opened in September 1963.” (http://www.pstramway.com/)
Although the rotating tram car was a bit unnerving, I found that if I focused on a spot above the horizon, I could actually appreciate the eleven minute ride up to the top of the mountain. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t as nerve-wracking as I’d originally anticipated.
Once we arrived at the top of the mountain, the discomfort I had experienced as we traveled the 8500-feet was well worth it! The views were breath-taking. The temperatures a full forty degrees cooler than those we had left behind. It was as if we had been transported to a different part of the country. Where there had been sparse vegetation on the desert floor, different varieties of pines and flowering plants covered the ground as far as the eye could see. A true oasis.
Oftentimes the Savior desires for me to face my fears, the things I dread, in order for me to arrive at the ‘oasis’ He has for me. Much like the safety information printed about the tram cars helped to quell my initial fear, the Bible spells out countless reasons why I can put absolute faith in my God.
I think about the many heroes of the Old Testament, ordinary men and women who overcame fear with faith and did extraordinary things for God. Remember Joshua, the leader who had brought the children of Israel successfully into the promised land? After an unsuccessful attempt to overtake the city of Ai, the Lord appeared to him with the words, “Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:” (Joshua 8:1; KJV). I imagine Joshua was more than a little afraid! Yet he trusted God, faced his fear, and was rewarded with a spectacular victory over the people of Ai.
Do you recall Gideon, the Israelite who hid by the winepress to thresh wheat, in order to keep it from the Midianites? The angel of the Lord appeared to him with the words, “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour” (Judges 6:12) You might wonder what the Lord saw in a man who was hiding in fear from the enemy. The answer is one simple word, faith. Gideon believed the Lord when He said to him, “Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man” (Judges 6:16). Because he chose to overcome his fear and trust God, we see the mighty way God was able to use him, “Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more, And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon” (Judges 8:28).
What about Ruth, the Moabitess? After her husband died, she made the choice to return with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to the city of Bethlehem. This might seem like an insignificant decision, until you realize that the Moabites were hated by the Israelites. Don’t you suppose Ruth feared the possibility of rejection from Naomi’s people? Yet she saw something different in the God of Naomi and put her life into His hands. Because of her obedience, she ended up marrying a godly man named Boaz, and having a child who became the grand-father of King David!
Is fear holding you back? Take a fresh look at the many times God’s word challenges you to ‘fear not.’ He is a God who can be fully trusted! Talk to Him about your fear, lay it at His feet, and then choose faith in Him to transport you to the oasis He has for you!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I stand amazed at Your goodness. I praise You for the opportunity to overcome my fears through faith in You. Help me to remember that You will never leave me nor forsake me. I’m placing my trust in You. Use me today for Your honor and glory. Amen.