1 Awakening Studying and memorizing the Bible has completely changed my life. Through the process of spending time with God in His Word, He has transformed my mind, healed me, and brought me on a wild ride of coming to know Him. One event years ago convinced me of the value of memorizing Scripture. Around the year 2004, as a new Christian, I heard Chuck Swindoll teach that the single most important thing you can do for your spiritual walk is to memorize Scripture. So I began finding verses that resonated with me and memorizing them. Some months later, I was transferred from my office electrical engineering position to a field assignment, working at airports around the country. The work was physically demanding and involved a lot of movement and heights. We travelled every week, sometimes to multiple cities in one week or even in one day. In addition to the frequent airline travel, we often used elevators. Since we worked primarily in the airport control towers and on top of prominent places around the airfield, sometimes it seemed like we were constantly going up or down. We rode more elevators upon returning to the hotel at night. There were a few times when I was in an elevator and could not for the life of me remember if I was at the airport or the hotel. Local driving added even more movement to my already fatigued vestibular system. Our work was often rigorous, requiring a good deal of climbing and carrying equipment. One day in Louisville, Kentucky, the control tower elevator was out of order. If you ever want a good workout, try walking up eighteen flights of stairs with equipment. Needless to say, we only took what we absolutely needed that morning. To complicate matters further, I was acrophobic. Yes, afraid of heights and yet flying often to work on tall buildings at airports. Thankfully, much of our work was inside. The other side of the height coin was the blessing of incredible scenery. In the cab of the Seattle-Tacoma control tower, I could barely concentrate on running cables because my eyes were totally captivated by the breathtaking, majestic view of Mount Rainier. Understandably, the first few weeks of that job left me exhausted, suffering from vertigo, and pushed my mild acrophobia into overdrive. One night in Oklahoma City I did not even want to go up to my hotel room, I just wanted to lie down on the grass and not move. I kneeled on the floor of my room and prayed. I felt incapable of continuing with that assignment, but feared losing my job if I told my boss I simply could not do the work. And I really did like that job overall. I was learning so much every day, the state-of-the-art technology was fascinating, and I have always loved aviation, so to be working at airports was thrilling in itself. On the floor that evening, I poured out my heart to God. I told Him I needed His help, His strength, or at least something to go on. The next morning, as I was reading my Bible, one verse caught my attention:
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov 18:10
I wrote that verse out on a piece of paper right then and memorized it at breakfast. That day, we had to install some equipment at the top of a one hundred foot tall open steel framed radar tower with grated floors. Every staircase step and landing, as well as the top platform, were made of a metal mesh that you could look right through and see the ground below. I was not required to climb that tower. That particular antenna installation was simple, and the guys I was working with knew that I had not been feeling well, so said they would just run up and take care of it. However, since I had nothing else to do, I thought that if I was ever going to face these challenges, it might as well be right then. So, up I went. As I started climbing the stairs, I recited Proverbs 18:10 over and over out loud to myself. I tried not to look down, and I kept a death grip on the railing. As I ascended, I was profoundly shaking with anxiety and nearly paralyzed by fear, yet I just kept taking the next step and saying that verse. When I reached the top, the guys were happy to see me and I tried to act like I was fine. I was still exhausted, nauseated, and scared half to death, so I decided to just sit down on the platform. It was an absolutely gorgeous day at OKC, warm and sunny with a lovely breeze. When you are one hundred feet above the ground in a flat area such as an airport, you can see for miles. The view was incredible. For a moment, I became lost in the scene…
Then it hit me.
The fear was completely gone.
Peace reigned throughout my mind and body. I was wholly at ease. I looked down through the grated floor on which I was sitting and smiled, suddenly amused at the concept of being up so high and seeing the ground through the platform. From that moment on, things were different. The Lord strengthened and encouraged me. Most of the time, I had no fear of the heights. My body also adjusted to the frequent flights and elevators. Occasionally, if I had to work on the parapet on the top of a four hundred foot control tower, I would get nervous, but then I would just recite Proverbs 18:10 out loud and go about my work. That beautiful day in Oklahoma, high above the airfield, I was awakened to the power of memorizing Scripture.