The pool slide at our local YMCA became the crowning symbol of success for my swim-learning children this past summer. Going down that tall, coiling, tube-shaped slide meant victory. To go down, after all, required first swimming the entire length of the pool on their own.
On our last day of summer break, my daughter finally accomplished this feat. She proudly displayed her well-earned bracelet that told the lifeguards she was skilled enough to safely go down the slide. She squealed with delight climbing each concrete step. But when she got to the top, she froze. The height was too high, the slide too scary.
I began to cheer her on from below. I shouted her name and cheered some more. The moms next to me saw what was happening and began to cheer her on too. The lifeguards started to cheer. Then the entire group—all those who’d come to the pool that day—began chanting my daughter’s name until she took that final step and let courage overcome her fear. Down she went all the way to the bottom.
It was a magical moment, to say the least.
As I think about it now, I’m reminded of Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Whether you know it or not, you also have a cheering section. Whether you feel it or not, there are faithful followers of Jesus who understand what it’s like to be afraid, to be anxious, to worry. Their courageous lives outlined in Scripture can propel us forward if we’re just willing to read God’s Word and listen.
Fear may be a big part of being human, but so is courage. Which one will you choose to embrace today?