"You can do it," he said, as he unfolded the ladder from the attic. "It's just an attic. And I'm right here."
Immediately, my heart palpitated. My pulse quickened. Sweat began beading on my forehead, and I had yet to step foot on the wooden contraption.
As my kids watched on, I took one shaky step toward the gaping darkness. Now, I was breathing faster, wondering if there was an escape hatch somewhere close at hand. There wasn't.
For most of my life, I've been afraid of attics. And for good reason. As a young girl, my step brother had molested me over a span of about three years when I would visit my father for his court-ordered weekends. During one of these visits, my step brother, who was also a sadist, locked me in a dark attic, knowing the light didn't work. I was petrified. I'm still unclear as to how I escaped, as much of that part of my life is blocked out.
What I do know is that the fear stayed with me. My husband of nearly 13 years decided enough was enough. It was time to face the darkness.
So, there I was on shaky knees, creeping my way to the opening. "Now, turn on the light," he gently instructed.
I reached up, and quickly flicked on the light, propping myself on the edge of the attic. "Okay. I did it. I'm coming down," I said.
"Not yet. Look around," he urged. I scanned the room, eyeing the box of desired fall decorations that started this whole adventure. Of course, they were all the way in the far corner. "Do you see the boxes?"
"Yes," I said, shakily, tears starting to come to my eyes. By this time, Dan had also climbed the ladder and was instructing me. "Now, step here and hold on to the beam. You can do it."
And so it went. Little by little, I edged over to the boxes, sliding them toward the opening. Still shaking, but comforted that someone was here with me, I eventually accomplished the goal.
After we had closed up the attic, my husband hugged me. "I'm proud of you," he said. "I know that was hard. But you see? You have nothing to be afraid of any more. This is your home. Your stepbrother doesn't live here. This is the safest place in the world."
Taking a deep breath, I wiped my eyes, knowing he was right. I was safe, in more ways than one.
Today, the world is much like that dark gaping hole that was my attic. It's filled with scary things as long as we stay in the darkness. It's when we turn on the light that is Christ that we can finally overcome and claim victory over the things that persecute us.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (www.biblegateway.com)
Even now, as Christians are being targeted worldwide, we have a light that can't be extinguished. I challenge you, my friend and reader, to claim victory through Christ over whatever fear is clutching you. Because He is the safest place in the world.