Saturday, March 7, 2020

Faith or Fear? Part 2

Psalm 27:14 Trust in the Lord. Have faith, do not despair. Trust in the Lord. (GNT)

I have patiently waited weeks, months, for God to place on my heart a new post. I sat here this evening emotionally drained. Fighting the enemy is a tough business even when God is standing in front of you because as always I tend to try to trade places with Him several times throughout the battle (old habits are hard to breakšŸ˜©).

We heard whispers weeks ago about possible travel delays from the infamous coronavirus. Hannes was instructed to email spring break travel plans to the academy. We talked about it, prayed about it, and thought nothing else of it. The next week the voice wasn't a whisper anymore. We were now hearing loud and clear the possibility that travel may or may not be approved. We began to pray for God's will in the situation, understanding we were placing our trust in His hands and accepting His answer. Then this week the text felt more like a shout, so loud I think I lost my hearing for a moment. UAE was closing down all schools for four weeks and all travel in and out of the country was restricted. We were being forced to act obediently on our promise to God and accept His will.

As much as I had promised myself I would be strong for him if we received this news, I failed miserably. I tried so hard to say something, to respond, but tears were flowing down my face and my throat had closed tight. If I tried to talk I am sure it would have been something between a loud croak and shrill cry. He knows me well, and knew I needed a minute to recover from the news. As we began to talk and problem solve we were reminded of our prayers. Our trust in our Father. Trusting His will and accepting it.

Our conversation turned from self-pity to our blessings. We are blessed to be in the situation we are in.  We could have never met and then we would have never experienced all the happiness we have enjoyed. The blessing of the wonderful job he has in the UAE. Our good health, our faith in God, our love for one another. The list went on and on.

Our conversation then turned to the devastation this virus has already caused so many.  Hannes had read earlier that day of an airline in the UK that folded. Thousands of employees were without a job. We thought of the lives lost from the virus and the ones yet to come. We were reminded of the economic impact this virus will have on millions. As we concluded our conversation we agreed we didn't understand any of this, but we trusted God and had to remain faithful and trust Him.

Well, the enemy does NOT like that kind of talk. The enemy doesn't like it when we choose God over fear. He doesn't like it when we choose God over anger. When the enemy sees us turning to God he immediately begins to plot and plan an attack against us.

I sat here today allowing the enemy to attack me. Allowing the enemy to celebrate his successes. All the while begging God to take it from me and yet trying to do it myself!! I told you I am hard-headed!

Finally, I picked up the book we are reading in our Bible study group, Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio. I found the chapter we had finished on fear and began reading my highlighted parts again. God knew I would need this later and placed on my heart when I read it to highlight it. Louie states in his chapter on fear:
               "Once we identify the culprit and admit that our unrest is tied to this person or circumstance,  we can off-load those cares to God. We can figuratively place them in our heavenly Father's hands, and we can trust them to his sovereign care. We don't minimize the situation: we maximize our view of the only One we can totally trust. We don't simply deny the problem we are threatened by; we relocate it to the hands of the only One who can manage it well. And we leave it there as we close our eyes to sleep."

Wow! If I could rewrite that again I would just for effect! Powerful!! I don't have to minimize the situation. I just need to trust the only One who can take care of it. The story only gets better though! I was finishing my chapter on comfort and this jumps out at me: "We remember faith thrives in discomfort." Come again? I thought to myself, I need to read that again. How can this be so? I need to be in discomfort to have faith. I sat for a moment and thought about this statement. It makes sense. When we are content and happy we don't need faith to trust. Then Louie continues by stating in Hebrews chapter 11:1 To have faith is the be sure of the things we hope for, and to be certain of the things we cannot see. (GNT) He says this process is never comfortable. That's true, as humans we want to see the future. We want to know our path. We want to be in control.

I sat here for over an hour in silence just listening to the Lord today. Not really understanding any of this chaos. I can say I haven't watched any news or googled any information. I have no control over the circumstance. I can't make it go away or change the outcome, but I can pray and trust my Heavenly Father. I can know He has not brought me through this desert of my past to leave me deserted. His plans are bigger than I could possibly imagine or hope for. I will trust him and place my faith in Him.

Friend, I don't know what fear you are facing today. Sickness, loss of a job, a marriage, a family member, or a friend, but I do know God has us and He will take care of us. He will comfort us in the chaos. I don't have all the answers and I never will. I just want to trust Him and have faith in the things I cannot see. Our road won't always be easy and smooth, but Hebrews 11:1 is a beautiful reminder of what it looks like to step out in faith and trust our Father. Praying in the uncertain times you will place your faith in Him and not allow the enemy to overpower you with fear.