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Riding out waves of fear

Riding out waves of fear

Riding out waves of fear

26 October 2020

Sandra Pawar says that with God, fear does not need to be in our lives.

By Sandra Pawar

I recently spent a week at the beach with my family on a ‘staycation’. We had such a wonderful time. We spent hours and hours swimming in the hotel pool, eating incredibly delicious food and walking along the beach collecting seashells and counting starfish together.

Every afternoon I would head down to the beach and just stand at the seawall and watch the waves crashing against the shoreline and pounding repeatedly against the sand and rocks.

I was mesmerised by the immense power and strength of the waves. Most days that week, the beach was closed because of the danger these waves presented. Yet, even with this danger looming, all day and every day there were groups of surfers hanging out in that vast and dangerous ocean.

I was incredulous at both their foolishness and bravery ­– the way they would confidently pick up their surfboards and run towards the very waves that others seemed to be avoiding. No matter how strong that oncoming wave was, they would dive headfirst into it, their bodies disappearing in the cloudy water, only to rise on the other side. They would then wait on their boards in the calmer water until a perfect wave came along and they would jump up and surf it, before being pummelled. This happened repeatedly. I could not take my eyes off them. I was in awe of their complete boldness and freedom.

As I stood daily at the seawall, I began to use that time to reflect on my own life and I came to realise that, unlike these fearless surfers, fear had become a big part of my life. I was fearful about so many things. Some things were minor and silly, like being fearful of wearing a swimsuit in front of others, fearful of spiders in my house and on my clothesline. Others were bigger, like going swimming in those very waves that others were surfing in, fear of failure in my new job, fear being a bad parent and fear of COVID-19 being a part of my community, hurting and harming those I love. Fear was around every corner. It was keeping me in bondage and keeping me from experiencing joy.

I never use to be this fearful. When I was younger, I would swim freely among the waves. I would feel confident in who I was. I would enjoy nature and there was not much that would hold me back.

I prayed that God would once again make me that fearless young girl. I reflected on a scripture that God seemed to whisper to my heart, found in Isaiah chapter 41, verse 10:

“So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

On that beach, with waves pounding against the shore and spraying me with salty water, those words began to speak to my heart again. They reminded me that God is with me, he is holding me and strengthening me. In my fear, he is right there with me and I am not alone.

I do not know if surfing is in my future, but one thing I know for sure is that that fear does not have to be. I am not sure where your fear level is at these days, but I do pray that those words from Isaiah 41:10 will speak to that fear and offer you a sense of peace. God is with you, he is for you, and he is holding you and strengthening you.

This article first appeared in Salvos Magazine

Captain Sandra Pawar is Corps Officer of Auburn Corps in Sydney, NSW

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