I, even I, am he who comforts you.
Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the Lord your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction?
For where is the wrath of the oppressor?
The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread.
For I am the Lord your God, who churns up the sea so that its waves roar – the Lord Almighty is his name.
I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand – I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’
~ Isaiah 51:12-16
I spent most of the day on Tuesday fearing and planning for something that never happened.
I’m a pretty regular weather-checker. The Weather Channel app on my phone gets tapped just about every morning, just to see what to expect. Long sleeves or short sleeves? Hair up or down? (Rain = this curly mop goes up). Is it finally time to break out the flip-flops?
I had checked the weather the day before and saw that thunderstorms were predicted. Sure enough, Tuesday morning dawned drippy, and the Weather Channel app predicted ‘strong thunderstorms, hail and possible tornadoes with some storms.’ After almost five years of living in Mississippi, I have yet to come to terms with the fact that tornado warnings are issued every time the sky cracks thunder. Shortly after we were married and I moved here, I went through my first bad storm – alone – with tornado sirens going off in town. I prayed safety for myself and my husband who had gone out to the store and promptly curled up in the bathtub, because for the love, I would hang with a death grip to the tub faucet if the rest of the house flew away from me. Maybe too many viewings of Twister and Wizard of Oz? We laugh about that story now, but, to this day, this Florida girl would still rather prep for a hurricane that’s a week away than be startled by blasting winds and a screeching siren.
Anyway. Back to Tuesday.
Surely, thought I, such dire weather predictions warranted careful (read: fearful) preparations. So, I decided to wait and run my errands later in the week. We went ahead and cancelled our small group for that evening. The little knot in my stomach made its way to my head and grew into a picture of my dog and I huddled in the hallway as the winds whipped around the house outside. I asked my husband, who was working five minutes away, to keep an eye on the weather and if it started to turn nasty, PLEASE, for the love, come home. Because driving in nasty weather is better than staying put (hey, no one said I was thinking rationally about this).
Fear tends to do that to us.
We hear one comment, take it the wrong way, and think She’s upset with me so I’d better steer clear of her for a while.
We read of atrocities happening in other countries and we think Better shut down our borders and close our homes to undesirables because, above all, we must. stay. safe.
We sense a stirring inside our hearts to do something slightly crazy…stand up for the unborn…adopt a child…write hope-words…and think I could never. No one will actually listen to me. I don’t have enough.
We think we can hope for the best while still preparing for the worst, but in reality, our eyes and hearts stay focused on the worst, while hope is forgotten.
Insert: Please understand, I’m not advocating the forsaking of all wisdom in NOT planning for the future. There is a time and place for that. It’s just that in my own life, I’ve often found myself quickly sliding down the slippery slope of planning for/expecting worst case scenarios, rather than trusting my Heavenly Father with the unknown.
Fear is the enemy of hope. Fear plans for every worst case scenario. Fear remembers what happened in the past and assumes that history will repeat itself. Fear leaves no room for a God who comforts, a God who stretches out the heavens, a God who churns up the sea, and a God who puts His very words in our mouths.
A God who calls us His people.
A God who personally watches over us.
When I begin to truly grasp the fact that the God who flung the stars in the sky = the God who also churns up the wind and rain = the same God who comforts my hurting heart = the same God who calls me His daughter…maybe that’s when I begin to grasp how small my fears really are. Because I begin to see how big my God really is.
And yesterday? There was lots of rain and some wind. But it ended with a gorgeous sunset. As if the day itself paused before retiring to assure me, See? My Creator is in control. He knows what He’s doing.
Counsel that is worth dwelling on.
Take that, fear.