Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
It was late at night. A huge contingent gathered at the airport to bid us farewell. Rutendo and I went around to each table to have a last personal talk with each of the relatives. My heart was leaping with joy. I was going overseas! My heart simultaneously sank at the thought of leaving my family behind. My heart beat fast fearing the unknown. What would Australia be like? School would be over in a year, and then, possibly another four years. Armed with a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry degree, I would then come back home. My uncle called everyone to gather around for prayer. He shared some words of wisdom, and then asked the three dozen or so relatives to bow their heads. He pronounced a blessing on us. He prayed for our protection. He prayed we would not forget who we are, and from where we came. We exchanged hugs and kisses, tears flowed ceaselessly.
The imposing Qantas Airlines jumbo jet towered on the tarmac. The airport balcony, our family, and all that was familiar were behind us. We started climbing up the stairs to a new future. The ascent was steep, as if to reflect a preview of the culture shock that lay ahead. When my feet got to the highest step, I turned around to wave back at the family. As I peered into the plane, I saw what looked like a small city. The plane was huge, filled with countless rows of seats. We found our seats, and made ourselves comfortable … for a while.
The flight crew made their routine announcements, while I listened intently. Soon, the plane was cleared to take off. Suddenly the plane gathered speed. In all my life, I had never been in any vehicle that fast before. As the wheels lifted the big bird of the ground, I saw the city lights disappear under us. My eyes bulged like floodlight bulbs. I dug my nails into the seat armrest, closed my eyes and started praying. God heard some of my most fervent prayers on that day. I confessed all the sins I could remember. I confessed the sins I thought I might have committed. I had to be ready, I was sure I was going to meet my Maker that day. Rutendo was laughing at me. She told me to relax and enjoy the flight. I did not want to hear that.
Something loud startled me. It was the loud beating of my little heart. It beat so fast that I thought it would breakthrough my rib cage. It beat so loud that I thought the whole universe was deafened by the high decibels it emitted. I felt my life suffocate, being choked by the overwhelming fear. I felt the heavy weight of anxiety sit on my chest like a boulder crushing a young tree. Fear is illogical and anti-faith. Fear sups life out of the heart. Fear zaps joy while it enslaves you into an inescapable rabbit hole.
It was as if God was nowhere to be seen or heard. He didn’t rush to my aid. I guess He was busy with His Godly duties. My concerns were already taken care off as part of who He is. He just is God, holds everything in the palm of His hands, including this jumbo jet. If only that made sense in that moment.
At some point, during the 12 hour flight, I had to respond to nature’s call. My bladder seemed like it was going to explode, my fear immobilized me. The bladder won. I stood up, walked, prayed, walked, and prayed. I prayed in the bath room, I prayed some more one my way back. I prayed every time the plane hit rough air, and encountered turbulence. Those were the longest 12 hours of my life!
At the arrival gate were about 18 young people, with a huge banner welcoming Rutendo and me to Australia. I was happy we finally made. We greeted our new friends outwardly. Inwardly, I wanted to kneel and kiss the ground. We made. Not only that we made, but we made it SAFELY! It would be many years of flying before I could get comfortable on a flight.
- What was your first flight like?
- What do you like most about flying?
- What do you least like about flying?
- What is your biggest fear in life?
- Why are you so afraid of it?
- How and when did that fear develop?
- How do you deal with it?
- What is God saying about the thing you fear most?
- If you were not afraid, what would you have accomplished?
- Has fear crippled you, so much that you watch your vision, dreams, aspirations disappear with no effort from you?