Conquering fear brings God near

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

I have always had a fear of heights. I say fear … the kind that keeps me from walking up staircases that are too high and walkways that are close too the edge. I avoid steep steps, and once while in Chicago, backed out when I was about to get on an escalator with glass sides. I could see the floors far below and the floors high above me. So I opted for stairs, narrow stairs in a closed corridor.

Yet last week I accomplished a great achievement (for me) in spite of my fear of heights. It was not easy. In fact, up until that day, I had no inclination to do it and if someone said I was going to do it, I would have said “no way.” But I did it last week. What was it? I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. That was quite an accomplishment for me.

Charlie, Buffy and I were in San Francisco and we saw the people walking as we drove over the bridge. I was outvoted two against one to join the scores of people on the bridge. Some were walking, some were riding bicycles, and a few were even pushing strollers with children. Charlie and Buffy were for it but I sized up the height, felt the wind, and I was scared.

I can back that up Biblically. A wiseman wrote in Ecclesiastes 7:18: “A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it.” The reality of the Golden Gate Bridge was that it was high, it was windy, there was nothing below us but water, and the railing by the sidewalk was only about four feet high. I was petrified.

I decided that I could not dampen the whole event for Charlie and Buffy, so I put my fear of heights aside. I decided that day to overcome my fear. We parked our car on one side of the bridge in the public parking area. Then I dared not think about what was under me (nothing) as I started the long walk across the bridge.

As I got further across, I was caught up in the view. What a sight. I could see for miles and miles, all of San Francisco and a wide view of the Bay Area. No fear, just the sight before me. The expansive sky, the water below and miles of coastline, boats and freighters and I could see it all. It was as if God was all around me. It seemed that the Creator of the entire universe was more evident and my fear was gone.

I have to admit that I did not see God up there. But when I was a little girl, I thought there was a good possibility that I could just catch a glimpse of God in the sky. My childhood faith was such that I really did believe I might see Him in the sky. In my childlike mind, I relied on my sight thinking, or my physical eyes, that I would see God.

I didn’t see God that day on the bridge. I saw boats and clouds and people and ocean and felt the wind. But while on the bridge, I saw evidence of Him … I felt His presence and saw Him by faith. I didn’t have to search the sky. He was there.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at:
cbrandon@plateautel.net