Worthy of My Fear- Five Minute Friday

5-minute-friday-1 There is little in this world that is worthy of our fear.

Yet we hand it over with such ease… sometimes even begging something to claim it from us.

In movies, music, books… “horror” that appears safe in the confines of media, triggering our adrenaline flow. “Scare me!” we cry.

And then fiction becomes reality… the news broadcasts that our fears live in shadows, in alleys, peering in through your windows… waiting to steal your possessions, your money, your loved ones.

And we get security systems, dogs, video cameras, bars, and locks… creating a false sense of control over the darkness that is just waiting to take advantage of us… give us a thrill of fear beyond the boundary of literature and cinematic amusement.

And we hand it over.

Our ability to fear.

And it begins to debilitate us.

We begin to make decisions based on fear. Which streets to drive down. To cross the street when he walks by. To carry weapons. To live with weapons. So that when our turn comes, and the horror lifts from the pages, steps out of the screen, into our lives… we have a fighting chance.

Some people stop going outside altogether. Or flying in airplanes. Or driving in vehicles. They stop eating, start exercising, and take every possible supplement and vaccine to keep the cancer at bay, the heart-attack statistic further from us, or the next “in” disease from staking a claim on us.

As if we have it all under control.

Yet we are the controlled.

Only One is worthy of my fear. Has the right to cause me to be afraid.

His name is Yahweh. The God who Is. The God over all.

Who separated an entire body of water before the very eyes of two nations… split them, so the water made walls and dry land could be passed on.

Who caused the sun to stop moving and prolonged the day.

Who brought dead people back to life… the decaying man restored to health.

Who brought form from the formless, gave it life, and loved it.

Who enshrouded His very essence with flesh, came and lived among us, talked with us, healed us… died for us.

And didn’t stay dead.

To be the eyes and ears of any present for these signs and wonders.

To look out over a plagued Egypt… every body of water: rivers, lakes, ponds, wells, cisterns… puddles. Water turned to blood. To see large hail stones fall on and destroy the flocks, herds, structures of the Egyptians… and yet not hit one single of mine or any other Israelite.

To stand back and say, “Whoa. Truly this is the one true God… and He could smite me so fast…” and yet He doesn’t.

Because the fear He deserves is not the same we cry for in a horror film. We don’t tremble before Him, ever unknowing of our position, afraid His hammer will fall and we will be found out.

I would like to suggest that the Church become a place of terror again; a place where God continually has to tell us, “Fear not”; a place where our relationship with God is not a simple belief or a doctrine or theology, it is God’s burning presence in our lives. I am suggesting that the tame God of relevance be replaced by the God whose very presence shatters our egos into dust, burns our sin into ashes, and strips us naked to reveal the real person within. The Church needs to become a gloriously dangerous place where nothing is safe in God’s presence except us. Nothing–including our plans, our agendas, our priorities, our politics, our money, our security, our comfort, our possessions, our needs.

Our world is… longing to see people whose God is big and holy and frightening and gentle and tender… and ours; a God whose love frightens us into His strong and powerful arms where He longs to whisper those terrifying words, ‘I love you.’

-Mike Yaconelli

This is what makes my heart tremble and cry out… “Can it be? That You would love me?”

The only One worthy of my fear. Worthy of my reverence and respect for His authority, His sovereignty, His power… His self-control and restraint. His deeply pursuant love.

Because “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.,” and as I come to realize the perfect love my God has for me… there is nothing left to fear (1 John 4:18).

I will not be made afraid by anything else.

Do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.

Isaiah 8:12-13

The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

Proverbs 19:23

Thank You

Thanksgiving is over but the gratitude doesn’t end.

Yet, where does one start? I could list all 1000 gifts right here and now… but not in five minutes.

There’s the usual (but not less important in the “normalness” of the thanks for which I feel for them)

Corban Tobias… “A Gift Devoted to God” “Pleasing to God” … and truly, he is a gift. Firstborn, we tackle all the challenges of life for the first time together. Every stage is new and he graciously walks me through. He is my comrade in the trenches… we’ve survived a lot together.

Hannah Moriah… “Favored” and “God is my teacher”… a delight of my life. My baby… she is a lover of all, knowing no boundaries on kindness or distinction among people. She laughs and loves easily. She is a ray of sunshine on any rainy day.

Elisabetta Marcela… “Pledged to God” and “Warlike”… these names came to her later in life… after her adoption. This part of our story and hers is one that continues to shape us today, as she comes to realize the reality of who her Savior is. Her intellect and insight make her a great challenge for any strategy game and a wonderful conversationalist. She brought balance to our family.

Matthew Angel… “Gift of God” and “Messenger of God”… also names given later through his adoption into our family… our oldest son. He has taught us much about our need for Jesus! Both in his unconditional generosity and forgiveness. He is easily the most resilient person I know. He stretches me to give more, love more, forgive quickly.

Then there’s my husband, Jeremy… “Appointed by God” and indeed, he is. He has moved his family across the world, and not without great prayer, deliberation, and wise instruction. He has stepped into the scary unknown, showing us his family what a man of faith looks like… he’s more than a fan of his Savior… he’s a follower.

I’m grateful for tears shed… which have become sources of comfort for those who tears now fall.

For inconveniences turned blessings in disguise.

For times of waiting that grew me up, trained me, stabilized me, prepared me for when the waiting ended.

Times of joy… of celebration and remembrance of all things beautiful and worthy of our memory and honor.

For friends who love desperately and radically… who love enough to send us away, to see God’s work fulfilled in us, in themselves.

For transparency and integrity.

For so much more than I can ever list here… for every experience, every grace, every mercy… every divine intervention.

For words and the ability to communicate them. For Lisa-Jo and her heart for supporting and loving other writers, other mommies, other women.

Blessed.

 

Finding Quiet

Quiet is so hard to find.

I can be in a perfectly silent room… and need mental ear plugs for my thoughts.

Or for all the chitter chatter of Twitter, Facebook, email…

And when the earplugs are in and the computer closed, the phone rings.

Or there’s a knock on the door.

Or a thought slips through… with a list of to-dos.

Even if I drive to the most remote places on the planet… away from cell service and wifi…even there my thoughts will find me, filling the desired silence with bursts of memory, curiosities, questions, and answers.

Or I open a book… and enter the noise of someone else’s world.

Which can be a great respite… but is not quiet.

Where, then, can this quiet be found?

The kind that can escape the endless running of a human brain?

“God, are you there?”

And for a moment, silence.

Then thoughts invade again… “Nope, no one is here. Am I fool? But isn’t He here? Aren’t You?”

On and on that chatter goes.

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

Matthew 6:7

At last, when I’ve commanded silence from my own reckless bantering… it is then that I hear the still, small whisper.

“I Am.”

And it is before that voice, that quiet is found. Not just the kind of quiet in silence, but the kind that seeps into the deepest parts of the human soul and spirit, wrought with peace and a sense of “all is well,” even when it is not.

Sometimes, when He wills it, the voice is loud and booming… and the quiet of the soul that follows His thunder is like the calm after a storm… when one shudders to remember their size in relation to the entire universe.

How small thou art.

And it hits me.

It’s not the voice alone that brings peace… because for some, it wreaks havoc. The Voice of Truth has been known to flip illusions on their heads. Dismantle deception. Confront our boxed in ideas of life. This can be terrifying.

But for the one who wholly trusts that voice… to him does the true quiet come.

The quiet that can be known in the midst of a rock-out concert. A crowded Christmas market. A home (like mine) with four kids.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Isaiah 26:3

The kind of quiet that steadies a home, a marriage, a heart… even in the midst of the storm… before its end when the world is rewarded with calm.

This is the quiet I long for. Which comes with or without a voice… but because of my trust in the One speaking.

Just as I can look into the face of my husband and know he loves me… even if he’s not saying it.

Or onto the tops of little heads snuggled into my side, squeezing me with all they’ve got… without their words to clarify it.

Trust.

Trust in the Creator of my soul, in the Potter of this clay, in the Artist in this masterpiece… Trust in Him is the silencer of all that wages war against peace and quiet in my life.

No matter where I am or how loud it is.

It’s quiet.

Inside.