A Matter of Faith: Confronting our fear

By Richard Gammill
Special to The PREVIEW

About 3 a.m. on a recent morning, I sat up in bed greatly disturbed. A hacking cough woke me up and would not stop. Sweat covered my body. My throat was sore. To prevent waking Jan up, I got out of bed and went downstairs.

Was this it for me? In ordinary times, I would have picked up something to read and ignored what was happening. This time, I became alarmed. I don’t fear death, but for a few moments fear was real. Were these symptoms the beginning of something terrible happening to me?

I prayed. I prayed for three pastors who had just succumbed to COVID-19, all much younger than I. I was nobody special; no reason God was obligated to spare me from what was killing thousands.

Even so, I asked God to let me first take care of several concerns. In April, we moved 500 miles into a new home, leaving behind in Pagosa Springs some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Now I want time to make new ones — not yet possible while record-breaking Arizona heat and fear of disease keeps people indoors. How do we make friends at virtual church services?

My family — what about them? Jan and I often tell each other we don’t know what we would do if one of us remains behind to live alone. For the first time, we live close to our son Brian’s family. They come to our home every Sunday afternoon for dinner and during the week, often cool off in our pool. Brian just got home after five months being stuck in India; now we are enjoying time together.

My grandchildren are growing up fast. Three are college graduates, two are married. The others are in middle school, high school and college. My heart’s desire is to live long enough to see them finish school and launch into the next phase of their lives. That won’t be for a few more years. OK with you, God?

After an hour or so of this conversation with God, the flow of the air conditioning had dried my sweat and cooled my body. My throat didn’t hurt and my coughing quit. I climbed the stairs to the bedroom and crawled into bed. What was that all about?

I had an appointment later that morning with a new doctor. I looked at the form I had to fill out and chose not to report my early morning experience. I was there for my ordinary aches and pains.

God is in his heaven. Not all is right with this world. Calamity may befall me, but I am in his hands.

I claim these verses: 

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” -— Philippians 4:7, (NIV). 

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” — I John 4:18a.

This story was posted on September 10, 2020.