Some people begin the new year with noisemakers and fireworks. Some start January 1 with resolutions and well-meaning promises to lose weight, stop smoking or live a slower lifestyle. I started New Year’s Day as I usually dosleeping in, watching the Rose Parade on TV and relishing a day of no plans and nothing to do. The rest of my New Year’s Day, however, was a bit more interesting, and my hope for “no plans and nothing to do” quickly flew out the window.

After my shower that morning I cleaned my bathroomwith bleach. And while I don’t know exactly what happened, somehow my contact lens got bleach on it. Since bleach is colorless I had no idea until my lens hit my eye. Oh. My. Goodness. I have felt severe pain in my life, but this was a new kind of pain I had never experienced. It felt as if little knives or shards of glass were in my eye.

There was no way to hold my eye still and with each tic or movement my eye burnedliterallywith bleach. I immediately ripped out my contact and began to flush my eye with cool water. Within 15 minutes I was on my way to an urgent care clinic where my eye was flushed again for 20 minutes with a cyborg-like invention. I was given an ointment to prevent infection and was told it would take a few days to feel better.

At home I tried to ignore the pain, but within two hours I was on my way to the emergency room. The last time I was at an ER was probably about 10 years ago so it’s not a place I visit often, but I was in anguish. The staff there washed my eye for another 20 minutes and, five hours later, the pH level of my eye had been checked; my eye had been scanned for damage with a black light; and I had received a shot for pain, a different ointment and drops for my eye.

Later as I recounted this story to my family, a few co-workers and friends, folks commented that I must have been very scared. They asked if I was calm. They were very concerned for my eyesight and if I would have any permanent damage.

But as I think back on this amazing start to my new year, I honestly never felt any fear. I felt incredible, agonizing, crippling pain but never any fear. Somehow I knew that God was in control and whatever was going to happen, God would determine my future and the outcome of the incident.

Being afraid wasn’t going to change things. If I had permanent damage, then I would have permanent damage. Fear would get me nowhere, and it certainly wouldn’t help. This lack of fear wasn’t a conscious decision, and it wasn’t something I chose. But while my eye burned, turned red and oozed for hours, I was never fearful. I had faith that things would be okay and that whatever the outcome, God would take care of me. Faith in God means realizing that God is bigger and greater than I am and that God has a plan for me. And that whatever happened, God would be there for me. Forever.

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