Things can happen quickly – much faster then I can process. Give me a pen and paper and some time to process and I can come up with a suitable response fitting for the situation. But in the space of locking my front door and smiling at the strangers walking by, the air can shift and I’ve placed myself in a dangerous position where a gate is blocked and questions are being asked and I answer automatically because I don’t want to appear scared.
But inside I’m terrified.
I’m terrified as they move on and I drive away.
I’m terrified as the barista talks too loudly to the guy at the counter and I try and concentrate on the book in front of me I’m supposed to read.
My hands are still shaking will I type out the message asking for prayer, berating myself in written out text that I have no business living where I do because street smarts are not my strong suit.
Fear can paralyze in the very worst of ways.
All I can imagine is the very worst and it blocks out the very Voice my soul is desperate to hear.
45 minutes and I haven’t turned a page and the barista behind me hasn’t gotten any quieter and I throw in the towel and walk out to the car,
unlock the door,
get behind the wheel,
and begin to drive
Back towards the inner city where colors claim streets and teenagers patrol them. Where the metallic ring of a gun shot wakes me up at night and my chicken gets eaten by a cat and where I am sure I don’t belong.
I silence the radio at some point and what fills the silence is prayer. Terrified prayer. Prayer I’m sure that moved no mountain, but mountains weren’t what needed to be moved. I needed His ear and He tenderly inclined it to the voice of this sin-wrecked, street naive woman.
And as avenues became streets, the sound of the prayers leaving my lips changed somehow – instead of terror at hypothetical what ifs, these words caused a shift in the air around me:
The Lord is my light and my salvation:
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life:
Of whom shall I be afraid?
And then these:
In God Whose word I praise,
In the Lord whose word I praise,
in God I trust, I will not be afraid;
what can man do to me?
The enemy wants to keep my eyes focused on the horrific evils man has the capability of inflicting on one another, but the truth is, no matter how deep the evil, it has the potential of bringing me into the very presence of God.
If the very worst is death, then I will stand in front of the very One Who created me and I will see Him clearly.
But even if all the hypothetical ifs don’t lead to death, I still have the amazing privilege of allowing them to lead me to His feet in worship – He promises that all things work together for the good of those who love Him. All things – good and bad if I just have the eyes to see.
There is wisdom in being careful, of holding back and depending on the Holy Spirit to guide me in the ways here that I still don’t understand, but I wouldn’t be living in freedom if I hid behind careful.
Faith states boldly that the God of the universe is my light, my salvation, my stronghold – why should I be afraid?
Faith purposefully reaches out a flame of hope into the darkness that presses in and sometimes with a voice quiet and small whispers,
“I trust in You and even though I’m terrified, I will not be afraid. The worst that man can do can actually press me closer into You.”
Faith believes that this life was given for a purpose and to be lived out to bring God glory and this is a high and holy privilege – not a safe and quiet one.
Let my trust be bigger than my fear, Jesus. Let my life be laid down before You in trust and with hope.