Category Archives: Fear

“Safer Than a Known Way: Discover How Liberty in Christ Lies in Surrender”

Pamela Rosewell had three reasons to hesitate. The twenty-one-year-old from Hastings, England, worried that if she followed God completely, He would call her to great lengths in her newfound faith. She could not risk being called to 1) travel outside her native England, 2) speak in public, or 3) be single for the rest of her life.

Anything but that.

Unlikely Stories

When I first cracked the cover of The Hiding Place and finished its last page that same night, I was hooked. Since then I’ve been thrilled to find each new glimpse into the incredible story of the watch shop on the Barteljorisstraat and the unassuming family who lived upstairs.

After devouring several resources on the most exciting points of Corrie’s life, I read The Five Silent Years of Corrie ten Boom, learning for the first time in detail of the stroke-induced silence of Corrie’s last years. What a surprising ending to such a vibrant life. The Five Silent Years was written by Pam Rosewell, Corrie’s personal travel assistant and eventual caregiver, who later wrote a second book: Safer Than a Known Way.

Corrie’s story is an unlikely one of an ordinary family of middle-aged and elderly Christians simply trusting and obeying God—and spearheading Haarlem’s resistance to Nazi horrors. Pam’s story is of an ordinary young woman intent on leading a normal and easy Christian life—and finding excitement and joy in parting with what she thought she could never give up.

For both of them, their lives were much different than their expectations. For both of them, their God was faithful.

“There Were Changes Ahead That I Could Never Have Imagined”

It really started with Sylvia.

Pam’s eighteen-year-old sister Sylvia begged her to attend a Christian conference. At 21, Pam wasn’t interested in her sister’s religious enthusiasm. “I wanted to follow Christ from a distance,” she wrote later. “To follow closely might mean He would ask of me something I could never do.”

But she went anyway, determined to participate as little as possible.

It was a determination she would not be able to keep. Despite her strongest intentions, just a few hours into the event, Pam wholeheartedly surrendered every part of her life to God. “I knew that [my surrender] was real and that it would last…God had revealed His love to me and had moved into my life on this particular night, giving me grace to surrender.”

But this was only the beginning.

Always an Adventure

Pam’s first international trip was a year-long mission assignment in Africa. Soon after, she began working with Brother Andrew in Holland and eventually agreed to accompany Corrie ten Boom on her travels all over the world. Her earlier commitment to never leave England’s shores had given way to an exciting life full of new people and places—and Pam was surprised to find that, most of the time, she actually enjoyed it.

Years into her travels, churches began inviting her to speak about her experiences to their congregations. “Although I continued to be nervous,” Pam wrote, “public speaking had lost its terror. People listened and responded. I saw that God used me and this fulfilled me deeply.”

Pam had now faced two of her three fears. God had been with her in her fears, and He had used those experiences she had dreaded to enrich her life more than she could have expected.

Through all of these things, Pam was single. She spent years caring for a woman who had been single all her life, and, in light of all she had learned through facing her first two fears, lifelong singleness was very possible for Pam.

Once Tante Corrie (as many called her) asked Pam if she was content to be single. Pam realized she was. Whether or not her singleness would be lifelong (and you’ll have to read the book to find out!), “I had to believe that this difficult way that I was now taking was…His perfect way for me.”

Safer Than a Known Way

Why do we always give our surrenders with caveats? Why do we think we have any right to ask God to meet our stipulations?

Even when we think we have surrendered wholeheartedly, we usually haven’t. As soon as things start unraveling, we grumble and question and give our human reasons as to why we shouldn’t be in this situation.

This isn’t what I had in mind. This isn’t what I expected. This isn’t what I signed up for.

If we would only give it all away—all the doubts, all the questions, all the fears.

Pam did. Soon she found herself facing the very things she had vowed to never risk. But in that road, in that way, she found so much more than just a neat and comfortable little Christian life. This life was so much better.

“Yet God has fulfilled my life through the very things I feared…I would so much like to tell people that they have nothing to lose in trusting God with all their lives…Only the Lord sees the end of my story. It is not in my control. But I do know this: when I surrender to Him, I am safer than if I had chosen a known way.”

Not for the Fear of Stomach

We all have our fears. Our heart-stopping, breathtaking, bone-chilling phobias we would rather do anything than face. Some of us fear needles, heights, or dangerous, predatory animals. Some of us quake in fright at only the thought of spiders, snakes, or speaking in public. A few of us fear the absence of cell phone coverage.

For me, it’s the stomach bug.

When two kids from my toddler class lost their lunches within 24 hours of each other, it was a summons to battle. Armed with Clorox wipes, Lysol spray, and disposable gloves, my fellow teachers and I attacked any surface we thought might have at one time possibly been somewhat contaminated. And everything else.

We threw all the stuffed animals and baby doll blankets in the wash, and when somebody else got sick we washed them again. Three more kids came down with the virus. I washed my hands, washed kids’ hands, and washed my hands again. Then Clorox-wiped the door handles, because who knows who touched those since this morning.

But whatever works, right? Tease me all you want, but our class hasn’t had another case of the upsets in three days.

Until this afternoon.

We thought we were past it. Thought the rest of us had missed it. Then—nope.

When I got home I went on a walk, listing my frustrations with every step.

I have my whole weekend planned out—time with family and some friends from out of town. And what else could I have done, anyway? I did everything I could, and the germs still claimed another one.

What if my dreaded nemesis infects me, too, and all those plans bottom out?

Even as I fumed, I realized the whininess of my attitude. Good grief, Lauren, there are refugees living in tents right now and you’re worried about weekend plans. Some people have hardships you can’t even hold a candle to and you’re worried about something you can’t control.

But soon I realized…I can’t control it.

I can’t control who in my class gets the stomach bug or doesn’t. All my Lysol-spraying and Clorox-cleaning didn’t stop the germs from infecting yet another child in my class. They can’t guarantee anything.

Only the God who created our germ-fighting bodies has any say in—any control over—who stands and who succumbs to the stomach virus.

Why worry?

Will it add an hour to my life? Or a day to our healthy streak?

In Mark 4, the storm raging around Jesus and His disciples’ boat was so strong the fishermen feared for their lives (maybe thanatophobia—fear of dying, aquaphobia—fear of water, or even thalassophobia—fear of the sea). These men were staring their deepest horror in the face. Or so they thought. Jesus woke from his nap but didn’t grab a bucket to bail more water out, instead simply asking, “‘Why are you so afraid?’” (Mark 4:40).

“Why are you so afraid?”

Do you think they forgot Who was in the boat? Or maybe they just forgot what He could do?

With a word from Him, the storm stopped. Just like that. It had been under His control all along.

Why are you so afraid?

You know, some trust in Clorox wipes and some trust in Lysol. We know that we can’t control anything even with those weapons.

But we also know Who is in the boat.

No matter what fear we face.