My dad was a fearless skier. Whether the skies were big and blue and dotted with puffy clouds or ominously dark, we hit the slopes, lined up behind dad in his soft brown jacket and matching stocking cap, feet in his tracks. Inevitably, the love of skiing, my dad’s enthusiasm, and the lack of fear combined to land us at the top of Alpine Meadows Ski Resort engulfed in a blizzard more than once. As an 8-year-old with blistering winds searing my face and blinding snow obscuring my sight, I was afraid. I couldn’t see a way down. In fact, my dad couldn’t either, but that didn’t deter him, and if he did experience a tremor of fear, I certainly wasn’t aware of it. With my skis pointed toward the whiteout ahead, fear and uncertainty flooded my body. Every instinct leaned away from the danger and toward self-protection. Yet, somehow I managed to plant my poles and push myself into line with my father’s skis. I lacked courage, but faith in my dad propelled me. In that moment of paralyzing fear, I needed something—someone—to trust who was bigger than myself. As an adult, when I think of following God in the midst of fear, it’s easy to feel frozen and weak and alone, blinded by the storm around me. I’m tempted to frantically find a way to retreat somewhere comfortably familiar. But I don’t think that is the nature of faith or the type of relationship my heavenly Father wants with me. Rather, trusting faith is a warm, intimate relationship with the personal, loving God who invites me to follow as a child through the frightening storms. My dad believed in me to follow him down that ski slope in the storm—it was my “duty” as his daughter. I was obedient in the strictest sense of the word, but that obedience looked less like obligation and more like trust. When I shivered with cold and fear, my dad didn’t pick me up and carry me. He knew that I was capable of making it down—I just needed a leader. Because he was my dad, I followed the only thing I could see through the blinding snow—his clear tracks and a blurry image in a soft brown jacket and hat. I trusted him that I would be alright. And I was. How can you cultivate a clearer image of God as a trustworthy Father whom you can follow through your fears?
Shauna Schneider
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