Have you ever been gripped by fear of the dark that it overwhelms you? When you walk down the street in the dark, do you find yourself walking in the middle of the street to be away from the shadows? As you walk, do you look over your shoulder to see if anyone is following you? That’s the kind of fear I lived with. I had a fear of the dark.
Hi, this is Cindy Barnes. Let me tell you my story. You’ll be amazed at the outcome because this is a God-story for sure!
I remember that night well. It is etched in my memory forever, every single detail. You never forget when fear has its grip on you. And you’ll always remember when you have been set free from fear!
Introduction to Psalm 139
The story begins back in 1976, when I was living in Ontario. I worked at a gas station as a gas jockey, back in the days when full service was the norm. One of our regular customers came in one summer day and started up a conversation with me.
The conversation was based on the weather as conversations normally go when you’re just meeting someone. How’s the weather? Hot enough for you? Yes, thank God!
And poof, just like that, he began talking with me about church. That was his opening to share Jesus with me. He was a minister!
He and his wife lived up the street where they pastored a small church. I was 18 years old and though I believed in Jesus and God, I didn’t go to church. I met his wife, Marjorie, and we became friends. They were both a great influence on me.
My mom had given me a red King James Bible the year before. I shared with Rev Lofthouse about the fear of the dark I lived with and he suggested I read Psalm 139. It didn’t take long for it to become my favourite Psalm.
When Fear Crept In
Months later I returned to my mother’s home in BC and I was given the downstairs bedroom in the far corner. We kids called it the dungeon because the door had the sliding window slot, you know, the kind where the guard looks in at you to see what you’re doing. It was creepy. The basement was unfinished except for this one room.
I had it set up comfortably with a pull-out couch, a desk and chair under the bedroom window.
Oh yes, that nice big slider window was about an inch off the ground facing the driveway. I could see when my mom came home or when anyone walked to the back door.
At night time, through the darkness, I could see some light that would shine on the leaves of the trees. Mostly, it was very dark. Did I mention that the lock didn’t work very well on the window? In fact, it didn’t work at all.
Anyone could open it if they wanted to. I just didn’t know who ‘they’ were.
You know, I really liked my room. I would pull out the
And then my mind would think, what if someone climbed in the window? My room is under the living room, everyone is upstairs in bed on the other side of the house, no one would hear me scream. What if someone climbs on top of me? What if he rapes me? And what if two guys come in and pull me out? What if no one hears me?!
The Nightly Ritual
Every night I would quietly climb out of bed and make my way upstairs. I always woke up in the morning in Mom’s bed.
Night after night this continued. I would start off in my room but the thoughts, the fear would overwhelm me so much that I would go sleep in my mother’s bed. Night after night after night.
Something had happened to me. Something did creep in. Its name was Fear.
- the dark.
- being raped.
- being abducted.
- and fear of being attacked.
Yes, fear had its grip on me.
You see, those things weren’t new to me. I was almost raped two years before and a year after that, I had been abducted and had to jump from a moving vehicle. I had been assaulted several years before that, so, ya, fear had moved in and it became a fear of the dark.
One evening, Mom was working downstairs. I was in my room, reading my Bible and my door was open. I can still see it. The light from Mom’s work space was streaming in my room and I asked her if I could read to her my favourite Psalm. She said yes so I leaned in towards the light and began to read the most wonderful words.
Freedom from Fear of the Dark
Psalm 139 (NKJV)
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall fall on me, Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
Did you see that?
The verses, Surely the darkness shall fall on me, even the night shall be light about me, indeed the darkness shall not hide from You the darkness and the light are both alike to You, did something for me, something amazing happened!
Something truly wonderful! Totally unexpected but, oh, so wonderful!In that moment, I realized that God could see me in the blackest of black nights, and that when He looks down from Heaven at me, it is daylight to Him, and He SEES me!
In that very moment, the black cloud of fear was released from me. I could feel it rising off my shoulders and going up in the air, never to return again.
The fear was GONE! It left! I was free!
Set Free from the Fear of the Dark
The written Word of God freed me!
I could walk down the street again and not feel like I was going to be attacked.
I was free! Such joy! Such freedom! Oh, such relief!
Mom didn’t even know what just happened to me, what I had just experienced. It is so hard to describe but I will never, ever forget it!
I barely even remember reading the rest of the Psalm. But I will never forget what the Lord has done for me. How He set me free from fear.
The Lord is good!
That night was the first night I slept in my bed without any fear!
— Cindy Barnes