It was my third year as a counselor, and the Black Hills had become my second home. I grew up attending camp every year, and the hills were my haven, a place to hide away from college stress and life’s uncertainties. Each morning consisted of prayer and journaling, followed by tea and breakfast on the lodge balcony. I enjoyed listening to the birds and the babbling creek below me, and this particular morning was stunning.
After a delicious breakfast, my director announced that he’d scheduled a day of caving. Having never experienced this particular activity, I said an extra prayer for strength. Now, those who know me know I HATE tight spaces, particularly spaces where my arms and legs are restrained. But, here I was about to embark on a day of daring adventure. While some might call this brave, I call it coercion as my director told all the staff we needed to participate unless someone was previously injured. Unfortunately, I had no injury to speak of, so I relented and packed a bag of essentials: water, sandwiches, extra clothes, flashlights, and bandages. As our team finished packing their lunches, we headed out for a fun-filled day at a nearby cave.
Upon arrival, I began feeling a sudden wave of nausea. I wasn’t sure I could go through with crawling in tight spaces; but, I had no other option unless I managed to break an ankle.
Our group was divided into three teams, and each team entered 20 minutes after the other to ensure space. When the first two groups made it through the entrance, I made my way through the line. At the opening of the cave, I noticed a camper shaking, his eyes filling with tears. I approached the boy, noting his embarrassment.
“Hey, are you okay?” He looked up; his eyes were red from crying.
“I’m too scared to go in. I tried going with the first group, but I just can’t!” I encouraged the other campers to follow their counselor before sitting down next to the boy.
“Listen, it’s okay to be afraid. It’s natural to be scared of something you’ve never tried.”
“But, I’m 13, and everyone thinks I’m a baby. I’m just so scared!” Strangely enough, this boy’s fear gave me the courage I needed. I smiled before replying:
“It doesn’t make you weak. I’m an adult, and I’m afraid too. We’ll go in together!”
After several minutes, he finally gathered the courage to try again. We said a quick prayer and descended into the cave. I walked my camper through the process, cheering him on with words of encouragement. When we made it through the entrance, he was beaming with pride.
“I did it! I’m not scared anymore, and it’s all because of you.” My heart overflowed with joy! I was able to ease a young boy’s mind, and in the process, I, too, was unafraid.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1, NIV).
Sometimes our fear stems from our inability to see in the dark. We fear the outcome because we cannot see the light in front of us. But, when we ask Christ for help, He is always there to provide peace and comfort in our uncertainty. We don’t have to fear the dark because we have God on our side! And when we gather the courage to move forward, we’ll see that it’s not always frightening. All we need to do is take a step in the right direction, and soon we’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel, or in my case, a cave.
Madeleine Lowe writes from Indiana.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.