When you think of going up into a mountain, going through a tunnel or seeing a big, beautiful bridge, what comes to mind? Are you excited, enjoying it, or are you holding your breath, not because of excitement, but because you are full of fear? For most of my life, when I came to a tunnel, bridge or went up or down a mountain, my thoughts were, “Oh, no, just stay calm Sharon, it will soon be over”. My breathing would get faster, my heart rate would go up, my palms would get sweaty and I couldn’t think or talk past my fear. I couldn’t see the beauty of the mountains around me or the wonders of the ocean, rivers or valleys I could view from the bridge I was on.
Over the years as I have been healing from the childhood abuse of my past, I have been overcoming many fears. This particular fear, however, seemed to be one that was harder for me to overcome. I continued to pray about it, about what was behind this fear, and how to have victory over it.
Psalm 34:4 – For I cried to him and he answered me! He freed me from all my fears.
I’ve come to realize over the years, fears in our lives don’t just happen, they are rooted in something that we experienced in our lives. I began asking Father God to show me what was the root of my fear of mountains, tunnels, and bridges. A few years ago, I was driving to my son’s house and we had the choice of going on the turnpike, through three tunnels, or to go over the mountain. It was “Over the mountain to my son’s house we will go”. Now God was already working on my fear of mountains. We had moved from a small town into the country. Our house was at the bottom of the mountain and every day I looked out at the mountain, I couldn’t get away from it. God used that to replace my fear of the mountain with a love for it. So, by the time I made this trip to my son’s house, I had conquered a great deal of my fear of driving in the mountains. On this particular highway, when you were getting ready to go up the mountain, you could choose two ways to go. I always chose the one to the right. I never ever wanted to go on the road to the left but didn’t know why. This particular trip, the road to the right was closed and I had no choice but to take the road to the left. As I went along this road, I became more and more tense. Finally, the road came to a place where you could see the tunnels. There was a road off to the right, with a bridge, that you could pull off to look at the tunnels that were under the mountain. The most horrible feeling came over me and a long-suppressed memory came to mind. I remembered that this was one of the places a family member had taken me when he was sexually abusing me. It all clicked into place of why I was afraid of mountains, tunnels, and bridges. Something wonderful and miraculous happened from that day. I gained healing and another level of freedom. But to gain that healing and freedom, I had to find what was the root of the fear I was crippled by. Since that day, I have gone through tunnels, drove up and down mountains and been on bridges without fear. I’ve been on a number of trips since then where I went on and through all of these three and have had no fear, but have actually experienced joy and excitement.
I’ve been thinking about how each of those places represents something in our lives. We each have places on our journey of life that we have to either cross a bridge, go up or down a mountain, or tunnel through the mountain. I like this definition of a bridge: something that is intended to reconcile or form a connection between two things. Jesus is our bridge between us and God. He connects us to the Father. We can’t get from one place to the other without that connection He makes for us to the Father. And of course, we all have bridges we have to build between us and people so we can be connected. There are all kinds of mountains, some bigger and taller than others. Sometimes the climb is going to be rough and it might feel like it’s taking all we have to get to the top. Then there are times when the mountain in your life is just too much of a barrier you can’t get through and you are going to need God to make a tunnel through that mountain so you can get from one side of your mountain to the other. Whatever mountains you are crossing today, whatever tunnels need to be dug, whatever bridges you are needed to build, remember that you are not alone. Your Father God is there to help you and you have no need to fear any of the mountains, tunnels, and bridges you face. He promises to always be with us and never leave us. So, He is not going to make us do this on our own.