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What Might be Lurking in the Unknown

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I am an older adult who, until recently, was afraid of the dark. I don’t mean mildly nervous, or hesitantly curious, I mean heart-beating-out-of-my-chest terrified. My mind conjured up all sorts of evil things lurking in the dark, watching me, waiting for me to shuffle within reach so they could grab me.

My washing machine and clothes dryer are near the basement steps so when I did laundry, I’d turn the basement light on and regularly look behind me in case anything was creeping up the steps to get me. My “night light” while I slept was the main light in the adjoining room. Our neighbors probably wondered if we ever went to bed!

I blame it on scary movies I watched as a child, but there have also been unexplained incidents that exaggerated my fear. For example, one dark night after arriving home, as I walked across the yard to my house, I felt someone (or something) watching me. I felt their presence so strongly that I jerked my head around to look behind me. Nothing was there. The feeling of being watched came from the jet black, open doorway of the pole shed. I walked faster, still feeling the steady glare digging into my back. Once inside the house, I slammed the door shut and locked it. Two questions still haunt me… What was it? Is it still out there?

For years I didn’t let anyone know about my fear. I’d reassure my children that they had nothing to fear in the dark, not letting on that I was terrified of it. I realize now it was the unknown that I was afraid of.

I worked at a company years longer than I should have, because I feared the unknown. I was one of many employees that wanted out. Many did leave and I watched them go with longing. I applied for several jobs, but I didn’t put much effort into it. I was nervous about learning a new job and meeting new co-workers. Questions nagged at me… What if I’m not good enough? What if I’m not as skilled as my cover letter embellishes? What if the new company is worse than where I am now? At a different company, I would need to figure out who I could and couldn’t trust; I already knew those secrets where I currently worked. Even though it wasn’t a good place to be, it was familiar and secure… or so I thought.

I made the crucial decision to stay put. I would stay at this job until I retired, and try to make the best of it. Arriving at my desk one morning, I looked towards the office of the supervisor that caused employees the most torment, and asked God how I would be able to work alongside this man, now that he was promoted yet again and did not deserve it. A message came into my mind that said, “But God put him there.” Of course! If God had not wanted him in that position, he would not have been promoted. I then realized that God had a plan and a purpose for this arrangement.

Immediately, all rage, aggravation, resentment and hatred about how employees were being treated, totally disappeared! These negative feelings had controlled my mind and plagued me for years! A feeling of absolute peace and serenity encompassed my entire body. I have no words to describe it. I now comprehend Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I wanted to yell out, “Hey! Did anybody see what just happened?!”

Within the next year, a reorganization plan was put into effect to “increase efficiency”; I was abruptly notified that my job had been eliminated. Co-workers and my family were angry and nervous about my situation, but I prayed and trusted in the Lord completely. I actually TRIED to be angry and nervous because I knew that would be the normal reaction, but I couldn’t do it. Even though my future was uncertain, I was completely calm and not the least bit worried. God was in control, as He always is. I was out of work for only one day. He placed me in a job that is a perfect fit, and now I truly enjoy going to work!

Five months after my job change, my husband was injured. He stayed in a facility for physical therapy for several weeks. I didn’t know how I would function because I needed to stoke the outside wood stove twice each day – in the dark. When I arrived home that first night alone, the pole shed light was on. I left it on all night because I could not summon up the nerve to go out there. I was terrified of what was waiting in the dark shadows.

That night I slept with most of the house lights on. Before finally closing my eyes to sleep, I asked the Lord for help. Very early the next morning, I went outside into the pitch black darkness to feed the cats and stoke the stove. After about 30 minutes, I realized that I had been walking through black shadowed areas and engulfed by darkness without all my senses screaming at me. My paralyzing fear of the dark was completely gone!

To this day, I am still amazed at the feeling of freedom I now have, from being able to walk into the dark and not feel suffocated by fear.

My new job is reconciling bank accounts; everything needs to be logical. The only logical explanation for what happened to me is that they were miracles from God. God may push us to face our fears, but He is a loving Lord that empowers us with the qualities we need to do so.

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