Have you ever been afraid? Of course you have. Everyone has something which he or she fears. However, not everyone experiences early or often the kind of fear that is beyond fear. Not everyone experiences terror.
There have been a few times in my own life when terror has happened. The first was in the autumn of 2009, when I had my first panic attack. It had been about 36 hours since I had taken my medicine (which I take in order to focus better), and I flipped. For any non-native English-speakers of the U.S., I apologize for the idiom, but it seems entirely appropriate. My brain felt as though it had turned upside-down and was attempting to escape from my skull. This was a medically induced (or rather, lack of medicine-ally induced) terror.
My second time happened tonight. I was at my fiancée's apartment for a better part of the day, even after she had gone to work. My memory only recalls her saying her shift ended at 6.
8 P.M.: I began to feel concerned. 'Maybe she went to the Saturday night experimental worship-thing at church without me; it started at 7, after all, and was supposed to last about an hour.'
9 P.M.: I'm jittery. 'Where could she be?'
10 P.M.: I check the website for the place she works at to see what the store hours are.
11 P.M.: 'They closed over an hour ago!'
It was about at this point that I began to despair. This is not like the kind of despair you feel when someone posts something kind of mean about you on Facebook. I legitimately thought she might have died. I began running through a series of 'what-ifs' in my head, thinking of all the worst possible reasons why she would be 5 hours later than she said she would be.
11:15 P.M.: She calls me. To reuse the phrase above, I flipped. For the past half hour I had looked out the window into the parking lot with teary eyes and gripped my knees whenever I saw car lights approaching, only to feel more like something bad had happened when it wasn't her car. When I saw that her phone was dialing mine, I answered and promptly began to cry my eyes out when I heard it was her voice and not someone else's. She had merely worked a much longer shift than expected.
My trust in God was sorely tested this night. Had someone been there to quote Philippians 4.7 or Matthew 6.34, I would have immediately punched him or her in the face, or at least told them that I didn't care what the Bible had to say about it. There was no peace; there was immense worry.
What then do we say to those whose lives have been ridden with fear, or to the ones who have experienced (or think they have, as was my case) some form of tragedy? I was forced to consider what it would be like without my girl, and I should hope that this will not soon be the case.
I have no answers. However, I pray that God may guide us into his presence and care, regardless of whatever may befall us. I pray your trust in God be stronger than was mine tonight, and that he uses this to strengthen my own.
Grace and peace.