Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)
TITLE: Facing Fear
By Seema Bagai
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“What’s holding you back?” the pastor asked the congregation. I squirmed in my seat and clenched the pen and bulletin in my hand. The sermon was titled “Overcoming Procrastination”. On the screen, there was a list of things everyone should complete. Accepting Jesus was first and baptism was second. I was saved, but not yet baptized. This was a nudge from God in gigantic letters.
Not now, God. I can't. Maybe someday.
The following Sunday, I opened the bulletin and found the sermon was “How Fear Can Strengthen Your Faith”. I sat riveted as the pastor told a story of his son taking swimming lessons and being afraid to jump into the water. If God had gently nudged me the week before, then this was a firm prod.
As a child, I, too, once stood at the edge of a pool during a swimming lesson and refused to jump. My well-meaning mom unexpectedly pushed me into the pool. Since then, I’ve been terrified of being in water. Now God was telling me to face a twenty-two-year-old fear and be baptized.
God, You know I’m terrified of water. If this were my choice, I would avoid being baptized. However, I want to trust You and be obedient to Your will.
I shared my situation with my friends and pastor. We agreed to pray for God to remove my phobia so I could be baptized. I also meditated on Bible verses where God instructs us to not be afraid.
Weeks later, I picked up a baptism packet at church. It was a small step towards making a decision. I was still uncertain about whether I could comfortably face this fear. My hands trembled as I slid the informational tape into the car’s cassette player. As I drove, I listened intently as the pastor explained the baptism process.
God, how do You expect me to do this? How am I supposed to get into a swimming pool and be dunked underwater?
Shaking my head, I changed lanes and saw a blue van ahead of me. In that instant, God answered my questions. The fear and doubt in my heart dissolved, leaving peace in its place. The license plate on that van said "BYTRUST".
Author’s note. One month later, trusting completely in God, I stepped into a swimming pool and was baptized.
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