This morning I watched a segment on one of the morning shows featuring bridge phobias. There are people scared of driving over bridges. One woman has a business where she simply drives people over a specific bridge (5 miles long). She averages about 11 folks per day. Crazy.
One man, who was a Vietnam vet, had been scared to drive over bridges for years. Eventually with the help of a cognitive-behavioral psychologist, he is now a bridge-phobialess driver. She drove him, drove with him, behind him, until he could drive by himself.
The problem, the psychologist pointed out, is that phobia’s are irrational. They don’t make sense and they are incredibly debilitating. People cannot simply stop being scared of certain things by an outside command or simple explanation. For some it takes repetitive events with a ‘coach’ alongside them to make any progress.
A simple command, “Do not fear” does not work for a phobia, and it doesn’t work to move a Christian forward to face any fear or phobia in his life (making new relationships, evangelism, taking any risks). However God’s command to His people in Isaiah 41 “Do not fear…for I am with you” brings to mind the ‘missing link’ in the equation. Jesus’ coming leaves no doubt that God is with us (Emmanuel).
So he is more than the psychologist. He issues the command, has proven that it is true and our phobia’s are false, and still promises to be with us every step of the way. One step at a time. Fear is debilitating, but faith is more powerful. And God gives us that faith, but sometimes I think he won’t give it to us, until we get on the bridge.