(Is. 41.10)Perspective is everything when the fear buttons get pushed. At least, perspective is everything when it comes from God's mouth to our hearts.
And, I've discovered there is one particular vantage point that is an essential to finding calm in the midst of the "what ifs" of future thinking.
To introduce it, I must go back several years.
I was much younger.
Our kiddos were little.
We were living in Kenya, at Rift Valley Academy, and to the best of our know-how, raising a family and trying to keep in line 30 high school dorm boys (along with a kazillion other little duties that came with the boarding-school-territory).
Every day was an experiment in learning how to "do life" right.
We'd lived on campus for several years, when tragedy struck.
It hit close to home and close to the heart.
Fast. Unexpected. Hard.
Some of you, who've known us a long time, have heard me share my side of this story:
* The huge giant of fear that pounded relentlessly at my door, as soon as my husband left home and flew back to the US with the family.
* The terror that gripped my heart when I found out that the men, who'd been arrested and charged with this atrocious act, had been released from jail on a bribe.
On top of Bay being away, our mission station was basically emptied, except for our little family. It was, after all, the month when our students went home for vacation with their parents, and all the other missionaries left for a season of rest, or to help serve in other areas of ministry.
I felt very alone, vulnerable, and unprotected.
The "what ifs" crowded my thinking and any reasonable thought couldn't find it's way through the door.
But, he would be away for a good two weeks, plus.
And...honestly....what could He have done?
In the midst of it all, I knew I needed to dig into God's Word and find His perspective for me, or I may not survive those two weeks.
Hard seasons have come and gone throughout my life.
This was truly one of the hardest.
Even in the hard of that time, I found Him faithful.
Even there, I discovered the great resource I had at my disposal in the truth of His Words and the steadfastness of His great love for me.
Even more...I felt His magnificent manifest Presence...
and, then, the ensuing peace that passes all understanding...
But, until then, how I felt did not match the theological reality of my life:
I was not alone.
Never without protection.
In the middle of the mess of my twisted thinking, the Lord came to my rescue.
He chased the lies, and the giant "what ifs" of fear, out the door of my head, and replaced them with His perspective (several perspectives, actually). The most important one being this:
He is always present.
Verse after verse, story after story in the Scriptures remind me that because He is with me, I need not be afraid.
It's a promise...and every promise is YES in Christ Jesus.
His name is Immanuel, God With Us, so He cannot be absent. I know, because God is incapable of lying.
I forgot who my GOD is, what He does, and the unseen world that surrounded me.
In the middle of my momentary lostness, I forgot I have a God who is bigger and much more capable than a 6'10" husband.
I forgot I had a God who loved to stoop low and work on my behalf.
I forgot I had a God with an army of warriors at His disposal.
In the course of my pouring through God's Word for A WORD for me during this time, I stumbled over one little story that put an exclamation mark on every passage of Scripture that reminded me of God's Presence in my life.
It's a powerful story in the middle of 2 Kings, chapter 6. Only 15 verses. The King of Syria has sent a vast and powerful army after the prophet Elisha. Seriously...an ENTIRE ARMY (with horses and chariots!) just for one man. When Elisha's servant woke up in the morning, and walked outside, his teeth rattled as he came back inside to tell to his master the entire city was surrounded. All he could spit out was, "Alas, my master, what shall we do?" As cool as a cucumber, Elisha responds:
"Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
It doesn't take the servant long to do the math. He looks around and counts: 1....2...
He goes back outside....hundreds? possibly thousands?
Elisha has lost his mind.
So, Elisha prays:
"Oh Lord, open his eyes that he may see."
And God does...and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around...
My God is ever-present (period...no matter how it may feel).
There is an unseen army at my disposal.
Yes, sometimes He allows bad things to happen to good people...
...sometimes, God stays His protective hand...
...that's a perspective I learned for another day (come back next week).
In the meantime, in the middle of that season of difficulty, the Lord wanted to remind me,
"Do not be afraid...for I am with you...ALWAYS."
May God open your eyes in every season of hard to see His Presence with you...
His Presence always eliminates fear.
Now, go back and re-read all of those wonderful verses above. Step into your own #bebrave in His Presence!