For the last few years, I have loosely followed the career of the rock climber, Alex Honnold. He is super-human in his ability to scale what appear to be impossible rock walls. His most notable climb was made alone without ropes and climbing gear up the face of El Capitan in Yosemite. The climb was filmed in a recent documentary titled, Free Solo. In a trailer for the film, Honnold addressed the issue of fear. He said, “I work to expand my comfort zone until there is no fear there.” This week the film won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Scripture tells us that perfect love casts out fear. I used to think if I had God’s love, fear would have to leave. I have found that is not true unless my faith is involved in the process of casting out the fear. The casting out is not some magic phrase we utter and fear has to run away. It involves something more.
I have experienced plenty of fear while the love of God was all around me. The fear never left unless I was involved in its expulsion. In order for our comfort zone to expand and overcome our place of fear, we must involve our faith with God’s love to scale the impossible places where fear is entrenched and stands before us spiritually as El Capitan stood before Honnold when he climbed its vertical rock wall.
There are times when the promise of God is waiting just across a Red Sea experience or at the top of a summit of a challenge that looks to us like El Capitan. At first, it seems impossible to make these passages and ascents because between us and the promise lies an obstacle we cannot comprehend overcoming. When you find yourself looking at a promise and saying, “I’m not comfortable with that” know that you are in the right place. No promise is easy. In your moment of uncomfortableness reach out and take the first handhold you see and begin to pull yourself upward. God will faithfully reveal each crack and crevice you will need to make it all the way to the top.
In the ascent, you will be confronted by your worst fears. As you continue to rise higher with each act of faith, God will ask you to exchange your fear for an act of personal courage. This process is what will cast out fear and help you continue to move higher as love pushes fear out of your way. There will come a moment when you finally reach the summit of the challenge you and others had previously thought impossible. That destination is available for anyone who is willing to exchange their fear for the kind of faith that can rise above any obstacle. This is the kind of faith we thought impossible before the journey began and our comfort zone was defined by our fears.