When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
As a child, I was afraid of going into my basement. I remember running down and up to get something and singing at the top of my lungs, thinking that would help. When I was older, I was staying with an aunt when I had a horrible experience.
In Physical Therapy school, you do rotations that are similar to a residency but shorter. One of mine was in Birmingham, Alabama, where my mom’s twin sister lived. She had a wonderful room in her basement that opened out into a large family room, complete with workout equipment and a large TV. When she invited me to stay there, I was thrilled.
One weekend, my aunt and uncle went out of town and I was left in the house alone. I came home on Friday after my shift at the rehab center and decided to enjoy a quiet evening studying some of the articles given to me to read. After making my dinner and working out, I took a shower and bundled up in the bed with my articles, thankful that I could sleep in the next day.
Propping up on my pillows, I was about halfway through my second article when I heard a loud noise above me. It was distinct and purposeful like someone had knocked over something in the dark. Immediately, my heart began to race and I tried to remain calm. This was years before people carried any kind of cell phone and the nearest phone that I could use was outside my bedroom in the middle of the family room.
After a long pause, I sighed, remembering my aunts’ cat, and almost laughed at my own fear until I realized she was laying at my feet. This meant that there was no way she could have caused the noise. Even though I knew this, I still felt like there had to be a logical explanation and hopefully, I’d just left something on the edge of a counter and it had just slipped off the edge. After my mind sped through those options, I began to relax and leaned back again on the pillows. Within a few more seconds, another sound-triggered my heart rate again—it was footsteps. Someone was in the house and there was no doubt about it this time. The footsteps continued and I could hear this person clearly moving above me.
Fear gripped my heart and all I could think to do was pray. I clasped my hands together and prayed a simple prayer:
“God, please protect me.”
Almost immediately, I felt calm, and even though seconds before I could barely breathe, suddenly I was clear-headed and I knew what I needed to do. Slowly, I slipped out of my bed and flattened my body to the floor, moving toward the phone to call for help.
As I reached the phone, instead of calling 911, for some reason I called my mother. Whispering to her over the phone, I told her what was happening and she was so upset; but she told me to do something strange. I still don’t know why I called her first, but she made me hang up to call 911 but also do the other thing that seemed crazy. After I punched the numbers into the phone, I did what my mom told me to do: I shouted,
“I hear you! I’m calling the police!”
As soon as I the operator came on the phone, I could hear the person above me run toward the front door and exit the house. Within seconds, I relayed to the police operator what was happening and they sent help right away. After all the investigations, they determined that I had arrived home and startled a burglar, who in turn hid in a closet until he thought I was asleep. He was trying to sneak out when he heard me yell and he panicked and ran away. This event scared me so much that I had difficulty staying alone for some time, but I eventually conquered that fear. During that night, I remember just praying and crying out to God to keep me safe. The police told me that I was incredibly lucky and that I could have been murdered that night or in the very least, assaulted. For some reason, that man didn’t do either and for that I am thankful.
I believe with all my heart that God heard my prayer that night and He protected me. Why did I call my mom first? Why did she tell me to do that? She didn’t remember even telling me that the next day. It was so strange. All of it. And no one could explain any of it.
I sincerely, hope that you are never in a situation like that, but we are all scared of something at different times in our lives. Not just sudden gripping fear like I had that night, but fear that is gnawing at us and controlling our emotions in a way that God never intended. He tells us repeatedly (hundreds of times actually) not to fear and to trust in Him. This verse, though, says that “when I fear” so I think He fully expects us to have some fear at different times. When we do, He wants us to “put our trust in Him”. I can tell you that I had no other choice that night. I had to trust that He would keep me safe. I did all that I could but I was helpless and trapped. He rescued me and reminded me that He was and always is in control.